|Using Supplemental Oxygen
Oxygen is an element, a gas, and a drug that can help people who have certain lung diseases. The cells in the body get their energy from the interaction of oxygen with food. The energy produced is used to do everything from breathing, to carrying out bodily functions, to going to the grocery store.
Oxygen Therapy helps to fuel brain and muscle cells and eases the workload of the heart.
People who may need oxygen therapy include those with: chronic bronchitis, congestive heart failure, emphysema, cystic fibrosis, asthma, occupational lung disease and lung cancer.
Oxygen therapy may help to improve sleep, mood, alertness and memory. With Oxygen therapy, people find that they can resume many of their usual activities.
Oxygen must be prescribed by your physician. The prescription must include how much oxygen is needed per minute, at what times and for how long. Oxygen therapy requires a source of oxygen (concentrator or cylindrical tank) and a delivery system (tubing and attachments).
The tubing will make me unattractive. Many oxygen systems can be easily concealed.
I'll have to stay home. Lightweight, portable oxygen containers allow for an active lifestyle.
I'll become addicted to oxygen. Oxygen is not physically addictive. Too much oxygen, however can make you drowsy and even damage your lungs. Never change the flow rate without your physician's approval.
Oxygen can explode. Oxygen cannot explode or catch fire by itself. It can however make an existing spark or flame burn more fiercely.
Tips for Using Oxygen Equipment
Don't change the flow rate without consulting your physician. Oxygen is a prescription drug.
Avoid alcohol and other sedating drugs when using oxygen. They can slow your breathing.
Use water-based lubricants to moisten your lips and nostrils. Never use oil-based products like petroleum jelly.
Be sure to order more oxygen from your supplier at least 2-3 days before you'll need it.
Do not smoke or allow others to smoke near you when using oxygen. Place "No Smoking" signs that Medox Healthcare provides on the front and back door of your residence.
Stay at least 8 feet away from gas stoves, lighted fireplaces, candles or other sources of heat or open flame. Do not use an electric razor (a possible source of sparks) or flammable products while using oxygen.
Do not place your oxygen equipment in unvented areas. Such as the closet or the trunk of your car.
Secure an oxygen cylinder to a fixed object. If knocked over the gas may escape causing the cylinder to take off like a missile.
Notify the electric company if you use an oxygen concentrator so you'll be a top priority if power is disrupted. Also notify the fire department that you keep oxygen at home.
Take your oxygen prescription with you. You'll need it to renew your supply.
If flying or going to high altitudes, ask your physician about adjusting the flow rate.
Find out about travel restrictions. Be aware that you cannot bring your own oxygen on a plane, but most airlines will provide it for you.
When should I call my physician? Call immediately if you notice: headaches, drowsiness, confusion, restlessness, anxiety, blue lips or fingernails, or slow, difficult or irregular breathing.
Does insurance cover oxygen therapy? Yes, if it is prescribed for lung disease associated with low blood oxygen levels and certain symptoms. Consult your physician for details. Private insurance and Medicare usually pay 80% of the cost. Medicaid may cover in some cases.
How can I get the most out of oxygen therapy? Follow the instructions of your physician, including prescribed medications, breathing exercises, diet, postural therapy, etc.