Easy and Simple Oxygen Therapy Safety Measures

Oxygen itself has many more health benefits than dangers, but like most good things in life, other factors can come into play that can put you in danger. Luckily, these things can be easily prevented and avoided by taking a few simple safety measures.

With anything that produces or holds pure oxygen, you need to stay away from heat and flame. Oxygen does not explode or combust, and this is a common misconception. Fire feeds off of the oxygen in the air around it, so if there is a high concentration of oxygen to come into contact with, the fire will spread much more quickly and burn hotter. Even a small spark fed by pure oxygen will quickly turn out of control and result in a house fire.

How close is too close?

Most experts say 8 feet is a safe distance between your oxygen and a flame. If you want to be even safer, 10 feet is a comfortable distance while using your oxygen therapy. Wait until you are done before joining your friends around the camp fire. This goes for candles, cigarettes/cigars/pipes, gas stoves, and something you wouldn't have guessed – electric razors – which can put off sparks that are usually gone undetected, but can turn into a fire if your are shaving while using your oxygen concentrator.

If you're cooking on an electric stove, be sure to take other precautions to prevent flames from catching. Make sure you haven't come into contact with any flammable substances, such as hairspray, alcohol (hand sanitizer usually contains alcohol), nail polish remover, etc. and avoid wearing lose fitting clothes, which are more likely to touch a burner and catch fire.

Proper storage and space

Make sure you have arranged your stored cylinders in a way so that they will not fall down. If a cylinder falls, it could easily break a cylinder, which would mean a leak in the best case scenario, and a dangerous projectile in the worst case scenario.

You should never place a running oxygen concentrator in an enclosed, unventilated space for very long. In and out of an elevator is fine, but since the concentrator is bringing in so much oxygen that you can breathe through the cannula, it will begin to deplete the surrounding area of oxygen. It will also heat up the enclosed area because of the purification process.

In the event of a power outage:

If you can't afford a generator for your home, there are few other things you can do to continue using your oxygen concentrator after the lights go out. To prepare for power outages, call your electric company and tell that you are using an oxygen concentrator. This may result in a small discount on your electric bill, depending on your electric company's policies, and you will be one of the first to be serviced when the power goes out. You should also tell your local fire department, and they will allow you to power your concentrator on their generator, and/or come to your assistance.

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.

5 thoughts on “Easy and Simple Oxygen Therapy Safety Measures”

  • Kimberly

    No one told me NOTHING JUST THROUGH ME Uon oxygen

  • Anita

    is it OK to cook on an electric, glass top stove?

    • Margaret Goodman
      Margaret Goodman May 22, 2018 at 5:08 am

      Yes, it is safe to cook with your oxygen concentrator. You, of course, don't want to set it on top of the stovetop while cooking or right next to the burner that is on. As always you want to be aware of where your machine is in relation to the heat source.

  • Kendra

    Can I use nail polish to paint my nails while wearing my face oxygen mask?

    • Ed Rodgers

      I have not heard any issue with this so you should be ok. It is more about common sense of flammible things (like nail polish remover and open flames) with oxygen where there can be a risk of fire. So using nail polish you are fine.


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