Coronavirus: What You Need To Know

Since 2001, Oxygen Concentrator Store has been dedicated to promoting the health of individuals affected by COPD, emphysema, and other respiratory and lung conditions. As COVID-19, or Coronavirus, continues to spread across the U.S, Oxygen Concentrator Store is doubling down on our mission to help make life easier for individuals in need of oxygen therapy. We’ve compiled research from the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization to help you better understand COVID-19, how it could affect you, and how to protect your health during these uncertain times.

What is COVID-19?

Coronavirus is an umbrella term that refers to common viruses that all cause upper respiratory symptoms but range in severity from the common cold to severe disease. COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus, meaning we’ve never seen this type of virus before. First identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, the virus has since spread to every continent except Antarctica. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization officially recognized COVID-19 as a pandemic.

What Are The Symptoms Of COVID-19?

The most common symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Symptoms can appear anywhere from 2 to 14 days after exposure. The virus results in mild to severe respiratory symptoms and the severity can vary greatly depending on age or preexisting health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, weakened immune systems and lung disease.

Who Can Get COVID-19?

While all individuals can catch COVID-19, individuals living in locations where the disease is spreading rapidly are at a higher risk. In general, the virus’s symptoms are mild, especially for children and young adults. However, for about 1 in 5 people, the illness can be more severe and require hospital care.

How To Protect Yourself From COVID-19

Older individuals and people with lung conditions are at a higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 symptoms, and should take the following precautions:

  • Wash your hands often, for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching your face as much as possible
  • Frequently clean and disinfect surfaces in your home or office
  • Avoid all non-essential travel, including cruises and flights
  • Maintain a 6-foot distance from others in public
  • Distance yourself with “social distancing”
  • Avoid known triggers that worsen your lung condition
  • Hand sanitizer made with at least 60% alcohol

What You Need to Know About Handwashing

If you fall into an at-risk population, social distancing becomes even more important to maintaining good health. Since the severity of symptoms varies so much, and symptoms can appear so late after exposure, it’s possible to come in contact with someone infected by COVID-19 without either of you knowing.

What To Do If You’re Sick

If you believe you have COVID-19, stay home. Do not visit public areas or leave your home except to get medical care. Call your doctor before you come in so they can give you instructions on how to get tested for COVID-19. After you’re tested, it may take several days to receive your results. During this time, separate yourself from other family members in your home as much as possible and cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue. Then, immediately wash your hands or use hand sanitizer to prevent spreading the illness. Closely monitor your symptoms and be sure to seek emergency medical attention if you think your symptoms have worsened or become life-threatening.

Treatment Options

Since there is no vaccine to protect against or cure COVID-19, the best way to protect yourself against catching the illness is by taking preventative measures, like washing your hands or using hand sanitizer and practicing social distancing.

A Note About Mental Health

Social distancing can take a toll on your mental health, but remember: social distancing doesn’t mean you need to completely isolate yourself in every way. It just means you’ll need to adjust how you interact with friends and family. Familiarize yourself with video technology like FaceTime, Zoom, and Skype and arrange regular video calls with your loved ones. Reach out to family members and friends you haven’t spoken to recently and use this time to catch up over the phone. In times like this, keeping your social ties strong (even without in-person interaction) is crucial to maintaining your mental health and happiness.


About Scott Ridl: Scott joined American Medical Sales and Rentals in 2008 as a Web Manager and Content Writer. He is a writer and designer. He is extensively trained on oxygen therapy products from leading manufacturers such as Inogen, Respironics, Chart, Invacare, ResMed and more. Scott works closely with respiratory therapists and oxygen specialists to educate the community about oxygen therapy products, COPD, asthma and lung diseases. He writes weekly columns and is passionate about educating the community on oxygen therapy and respiratory issues.

12 thoughts on “Coronavirus: What You Need To Know”

  • Shirley Harding
    Shirley Harding March 27, 2020 at 2:55 pm

    Good info but what I was hoping to learn is how can I protect my breathing when I am using my inogen g4? I can use a face mask as others do but my air is coming through the machine which only has that little screen filter. Is there another way to mask my machine?

    • Sanket Jain

      All Inogen oxygen concentrators filter the air at least two times before delivering it to the oxygen therapy user. The air is filtered during intake to keep dust, pet hair and other airborne containments away. The air is filtered once again through the filter located adjacent to the oxygen cannula nozzle fitting. This added layer of protection shields the oxygen user from inhaling microparticles. However, currently, there is no research on the effectiveness of the filters against the Novel Coronavirus. We suggest our patients follow social-distancing and avoid unnecessary travel. Stay safe!

      Please, make sure that you clean the intake filter on a weekly basis and replace the output filter annually.

  • Judy

    I clean the two filters what is the output filter I have the portable inogen it weighs 4 1/2 lbs. quite heavy.

    • Sanket Jain

      I'm guessing you have an Inogen G3. The back of the device has four vents. The bottom two are blue-colored intake vent filters which can be removed and cleaned under running hot water. The top two vents are the exhaust from where nitrogen gets removed from the device. Please make sure that all four vents are clean.

  • lesley

    My patients are concerned that the portable oxygen concentrator puts them at higher risk because it is sucking in air more rigourously than a human normally does. Could you please supply information regarding the negative pressure of the inflow of room air to the concentrator?
    And also if there is any hypothesised benefit to 'masking' the inflow grate while out in public?
    My impression is that the dual filters really just prevent larger particles from entering into the system, and has no impact on small infectious particles.
    thank you

    • Sanket Jain

      Good question, Lesley. Currently, there is no research or data that shows whether using a portable oxygen concentrator would put a patient at a higher risk. Nevertheless, before the oxygen is delivered to a patient, oxygen concentrators filter out bacteria, air flowing through the compressor gets heated, and then it passes through Zeolite. This acts as a layer of protection - we can't say how strong. Again, we cannot give any medical advice. We are in constant contact with the manufacturers and will post more information as it arises.

  • Cheryl

    I have COPD (emphysema). I have a stationary oxygen converter at home and purchased a Phillips Respironics
    Simply Go to use outside of the home instead of the tanks provided. I’d become less active and now with the pandemic only go out to perform routine tasks e.g. refuse, mail, and find that physical exertion causes shortness of breath and accelerated heart rate. I increase the oxygen flow but when I put on a mask (now also because of the high pollen count) in a few minutes I feel like I’m suffocating and am gasping for air. I think that I’m drawing in too much carbon dioxide. Is there any kind of mask that can be used with a nasal cannula and allows the CO 2 to escape?

    • Sanket Jain

      Good question, Cheryl! People with COPD may have difficulty breathing with a mask. I did some online research and couldn't find any concrete solution. I've passed on this question to our oxygen experts and will let you know as soon as I hear back. Meanwhile, we recommend you consult with your doctor on the same.

  • Rosalie Tonsul
    Rosalie Tonsul May 8, 2020 at 9:41 pm

    Can a person recovering from Covid 19 obtain a oxygen tank for home use?

    • Sanket Jain

      Hi Rosalie, you may use oxygen at home if you have a prescription or a doctor's note for it. Oxygen is a drug and requires a prescription. Oxygen concentrators are a better alternative than oxygen tanks. Especially, in the current scenario where you would not want to go through regular refilling of oxygen tanks as it goes from hand to hand. An oxygen concentrator is a one-time purchase and the device makes its own oxygen - so, a provider is not required to refill the oxygen.
      We can quickly answer all your questions over a phone call. Please reach us out at 888-387-5914. We are open seven days a week.

  • Paul Waldmann
    Paul Waldmann May 17, 2020 at 9:42 am

    please notify me when an upgraded filter is available for my Inogen 1. Those of us that use a POC are
    already at high risk and do not need another freedom to be lost. Thanks.

    • Sanket Jain

      Our Oxygen Specialist would be happy to help you out with your requirements. Please give us a call at 877-644-4581.


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