If you've just been diagnosed with a severe chronic illness, your doctor might find it necessary to prescribe oxygen therapy. Chronic illnesses like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) can make it much harder to bring in enough oxygen through the lungs and distribute it to the rest of the body through the blood stream. If you can breathe a high purity of oxygen for a certain amount of time each day, it will help maintain your health.
You probably have some questions about your new prescription, or your oxygen therapy equipment. Although you should ask your doctor or your oxygen therapy technician, here are some of the answers to the most common questions that oxygen therapy patients ask.
How long should I use oxygen therapy each day?
If you are using non medical oxygen, you should use it for around 10 to 16 hours per day to get the full health benefits. If you are prescribed oxygen therapy by your doctor, you should stick to your doctors orders for how long you should be receiving oxygen therapy. It's very important to stick to your prescribed dose, because it was designed to help keep your chronic illness under control, and to give you a better quality of life.
Will I be able to leave my home while using oxygen therapy?
Being able to leave your home while using oxygen therapy depends on what kind of oxygen equipment you are using. What kind of oxygen equipment you can use depends on your individual oxygen needs. If you need to use over 5 LPM (liters per minute of continuous flow oxygen for more than 12 hours per day, this will limit your travel possibilities. If you need 3 LPM or less, you will easily be able to use a portable oxygen concentrator, which will allow you to travel almost anywhere.
Is it possible to get addicted to oxygen therapy?
There is no way anyone could get addicted to oxygen therapy. You can't get addicted to something your body naturally needs to stay alive. Every living cell in your body needs a certain minimal amount of oxygen to function properly. If you can't bring in enough oxygen on a regular basis, your health will start to decline. Supplemental oxygen helps to keep your body healthy.
Is oxygen flammable?
Oxygen itself is not flammable or combustible. It can however, can feed a spark or small flame so that it burns much quicker. Fire needs oxygen to burn and spread, so in addition to the existing oxygen in the room, even a small puff of pure oxygen will quickly turn a small flame into a much bigger one. Lit cigarettes, stove tops that are turned on, fireplaces and even the quick flash of a lighter should be avoided while using your oxygen therapy. A safe distance from these things would be at least 8 feet.
Are there side effects to oxygen therapy use?
If you need to use a high dosage, severe dryness of the nasal passages can occur. This can be remedied by a humidifier bottle, which can be attached to your oxygen machine. For any other effects such as fatigue or headaches, you should contact your doctor immediately. This could mean that the dosage is too high.