Oxygen - home use
Because of your sickness, you may need to use oxygen to help you breathe. You will need to know how to use and store your oxygen.
Your oxygen will be stored under pressure in tanks or produced by a machine called an oxygen concentrator.
You can get large tanks to keep in your home and small tanks to take with you when you go out.
Liquid oxygen is the best kind to use because:
Be aware that liquid oxygen will slowly run out, even when you are not using it.
An oxygen concentrator:
Portable, battery-operated concentrators are also available.
You will need other equipment to use your oxygen. One item is called a nasal cannula. This plastic tubing wraps over your ears, like eyeglasses, with two prongs that fit into your nostrils.
You may need an oxygen mask. The mask fits over the nose and mouth. It is best for when you need higher amounts of oxygen or when your nose gets too irritated from the nasal cannula.
Some people may need a transtracheal catheter. This is a small catheter or tube that is placed into your windpipe through a minor surgery.
If you are using a transtracheal catheter, have your respiratory therapist or doctor teach you how to clean your catheter and humidifier bottle.
Tell your local fire department, electric company, and telephone company that you use oxygen in your home.
Tell your neighbors, friends, and family that you use oxygen. They can help during an emergency.
Using oxygen may make your lips, mouth, or nose dry.
Place some gauze under the oxygen tubing behind your ear. This will help keep the skin from getting sore.
Do not stop or change your flow of oxygen. Talk with your doctor, nurse, or respiratory therapist if you think you are not getting the right amount. Take good care of your teeth and gums.
Keep your oxygen far away from open fire or any other heating source.
You need to make sure oxygen will be available for you during your trip. If you plan to fly with oxygen, tell the airline before your trip that you plan to bring oxygen. Many airlines have special rules about traveling with oxygen.
If you have any of the following symptoms, check your oxygen equipment first.
If your oxygen equipment is working well, call your doctor if:
Call your child's doctor if your child is on oxygen and is:
American Thoracic Society. Why do I need oxygen therapy? http://www.thoracic.org/clinical/copd-guidelines/for-patients/why-do-i-need-oxygen-therapy.php. Accessed on May 8, 2014.
National Home Oxygen Patients Association. Understanding oxygen therapy: A patient guide to long-term supplemental oxygen. http://www.homeoxygen.org/assets/docs/Understanding%20Oxygen%20Therapy%202013.pdf. Accessed on May 8, 2014.
Updated by: Denis Hadjiliadis, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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