Oxygen therapy at home might be required in certain conditions. Learning how to properly use and take proper care of the equipment is vital.
Individuals who have low blood oxygen levels require oxygen therapy to help them feel better and allow a longer, more active life. Remember that oxygen is a fire hazard which is why it is vital to follow the safety measures.
How to use oxygen therapy
Once the doctor prescribes oxygen therapy, there are considerations to bear in mind when it is used at home.
- Do not alter the setting on the oxygen without consulting the doctor first. Turning the flow rate down or up can be dangerous.
- Monitor the amount of oxygen in the tank and order in advanced so that you will not run out of supply.
- Avoid drinking alcohol or use drugs that promotes relaxation such as sedatives or sleeping pills while under oxygen therapy since they cause slowed breathing.
- A doctor must be consulted if the individual has shortness of breath, tired, restless or confused and not likely to receive enough oxygen.
Using a nasal cannula
First, you should wash the nasal prongs using water and soap 1-2 times in a week. Follow the instructions on the packaging.
The prongs must be replaced every 2-4 weeks. If the individual has the flu or common cold, change them once the symptoms settle.
A water-based moisturizer must be used on the lips and in the nose to prevent dryness and cracking.
Place a piece of gauze beneath the tubing to prevent the skin behind the ears from getting sore.
Always bear in mind that oxygen is a fire hazard that can make flames burn faster and warmer. It is vital to follow these steps to keep everyone safe:
- Avoid smoking or let others smoke while oxygen. Post “no smoking” signs and be aware of others smoking near you when outside the house.
- The oxygen must be at least 2 meters away from heat sources or flames such barbeque grills, gas stoves, candles, fireplaces and space heaters.
- Flammable products should not be used such as paint thinner, cleaning fluids or aerosol sprays while under oxygen therapy.