Questions and answers about using home oxygen.



What is oxygen?

Oxygen is a colorless, odorless, tateless gas that is necessary for life.  When we take a breath, we breathe air containing 21% oxygen into our lungs.  the oxygen passes from our lungs into our bloodstream, where it is carried in the red blood cells to all the organs and tissue of our bodies.

Oxygen is needed by our organs and tissues to convert the food we eat into heat and energy to maintain life.

Why do I need extra oxygen?

Normally, oxygen passes readily from the lungs into the bloodstream and is pumped by the heart to all parts of the body.  When lung disease occurs, oxygen may not be able to pass as readily into the bloodstream.  When the heart is diseased, it may not be able to pump as much oxygen-carrying blood.  Either of these situations can result in not enough oxygen reaching the organs and tissues of the body, keeping them from functioning properly.  This may cause many bad effects, such as less ability to exercise, difficulty breathing, fatigue, confusion, loss of memory, etc..

Breathing extra oxygen increases the amount of oxygen that passes into the bloodstream and is carried to the organs and tissues.

How can I tell if I need extra oxygen?

You might suspect you need extra oxygen if you have one or more of the following symptoms:  decreased ability to exercise, difficulty breathing, fatigue easily, periods of disorientation or loss of memory.  The only way to know for sure, however, is to measure the amount of oxygen in your blood.  Your physician will evaluate your results and symptoms to determine if you might benefit from extra oxygen.

If you need extra oxygen, your physician will prescribe the proper flow rate and length of use.

Can I become addicted to oxygen?

Oxygen is NOT addicting.  We all need oxygen to live.  If your lungs and/or heart are diseased and can’t supply enough oxygen to your body from normal room air, you need to breathe extra oxygen.

Should your condition improve, you may no longer require extra oxygen.

Will oxygen help my shortness of breath?

Oxygen often does help but there are reasons other than lack of oxygen for shortness of breath.  In such cases, oxygen may not help the condition.  By itself shortness of breath is not life threatening.

Do I have to use oxygen all of the time?

Your physician will decide how many hours a day you should use the oxygen.  Note:  Be sure to follow your doctor’s directions carefully.

Does the need for extra oxygen mean that I am dying?

NO!  People may live for many years on home oxygen.  Others require extra oxygen at home for a short period of time to help ease their discomfort after being hospitalized or experiencing other stressful situations.

Can I drive while using oxygen?

Yes.  Again all you need to do is use common sense.  When driving secure the oxygen unit so it will not tip over (in a seatbelt).

What do I do during a power failure or if my oxygen concentrator malfunctions?

You’ll probably feel some of the discomfort you experienced before you went on your oxygen therapy.  Relax, we will provide you with an emergency supply of oxygen.  You can also reduce your anxiety and discomfort until the problem is resolved by placing as little demand on your lungs as possible.  For example:  You might sit or lie down and relax until the problem is resolved.  If you are out with your portable cylinder and it runs out return home and continue using your home oxygen system.

Are there any hazards involved in using oxygen?

While oxygen doesn’t burn, anything that can burn will do so more easily and more quickly in the presence of oxygen therefore, do NOT use oxygen near an open flame, burning cigarettes or electrical equipment that spark during operation.  Do not use oil, grease, or petroleum based products on oxygen equipment.  We will thoroughly explain all safety rules related to your home oxygen therapy.

Be careful to follow your doctor’s orders exactly when using oxygen and never change the liter flow without his or her approval.

Can I use electrical appliances while using oxygen?

Electrical appliances that get hot spark during operation should be kepts at least 5 feet away from your oxygen system.

Is there anything I can't do while using oxygen?

Electrical appliances that get hot spark during operation should be kepts at least 5 feet away from your oxygen system.

Still need help?

For any other questions, please write us at maritimeasthma@gmail.com or give us a call at 902-626-3376

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