The 10 Basic Safety Guidelines for Oxygen Therapy Use

Proper safety measures are important for you, those around you, and for the life of your oxygen machine. An oxygen concentrator, and tanks should be handled as serious medical equipment and delicate electronics in the case of an oxygen concentrator. In short, they should be respected and handled with care.

You also need to follow a few simple safety guidelines and keep some things in mind when using your oxygen therapy equipment.

1. Anything that can cause a spark, or any type of source of open heat or flame should be avoided. As a general rule, you should get no closer than 8 feet away from an open source of heat or flame. Even if you see no sparks or flames, something like a space heater can cause a spark of static electricity against the open source of heat. Oxygen itself doesn't combust, but the pure oxygen from your oxygen concentrator, even in a very small amount, will feed a flame extremely quickly and cause a very hot and fast spreading fire.

2. Don't smoke while using oxygen therapy, and don't allow anyone to smoke near you. If you have to, leave the area. You shouldn't allow anyone to smoke in your home, and you definitely shouldn't be smoking at all if you are have a lung disease that calls for a need for oxygen therapy. The flame from the cigarette will quickly become a very big flame, fed by the pure oxygen.

3. If you are cooking or even just making toast, don't wear loose fitting clothing or sleeves that drape down, as they will easily catch fire, and once there is a small spark, you're in danger of the oxygen from your concentrator coming in contact with it, and igniting.

4. Avoid using any aerosol products, since these are under pressure, and the chemical will ignite from a spark and catch the oxygen emitted from your oxygen therapy equipment.

5. You should also never allow flammable liquids or any other flammable substance on your clothing while using oxygen therapy. Do not pump gas or use hairspray. Be very careful about using rubbing alcohol, or hand sanitizer, which contains a high amount of rubbing alcohol.

6. Always use your oxygen concentrator in an open, well ventilated area. An oxygen concentrator can quickly deplete a small and closed off area of oxygen. Never run it while things are closely surrounding it, as it can overheat.

7. Be extremely careful how you carry your oxygen tanks. If they fall, and the oxygen valve breaks, it can become a dangerous projectile.

8. Let your electric company know you use oxygen therapy. This places you as first priority for getting your electric back on in an outage, and they will even come to your assistance with emergency power if they can't get your electric back on quickly.

9. Make sure no one can trip over power cords and cannula tubing.

10. Always refer to the manual on proper care for your oxygen equipment, so you can recognize and respond to alarams, as well as maintain the equipment for safety.

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.

8 thoughts on “The 10 Basic Safety Guidelines for Oxygen Therapy Use”

  • Carol Kennedy

    I am on oxygen 24-7 and live in Colorado. I am noticing when I make my bed a hear static electricity sparks. Is there danger here for me? I have placed a lot of dryer sheets in between my bedding, but I heard they are bad for you as well. Also, is an electric blanket dangerous to use as well? Thanks.

    • Margaret Goodman
      Margaret Goodman March 16, 2018 at 9:14 am

      It sounds like this is just normal static electricity and therefore no danger to you. If you have further questions you may contact our customer service center at 877-303-9289.

  • mary simpson

    can I spray my hair if the portable concentrator is off and in another room. Is it safe after my hair is sprayed

  • A Pol.

    My infant son is on oxygen 24/7. Is it safe to pump gas while he is in his carseat? Is there any danger if my husband is grilling on the patio while my son is inside the apartment? Thank you for your help.

    • Ed Rodgers

      If you son is using a cannula and is well ventilated place and is not right next to open flames or near combustible materials, it will be fine.

  • K Hasstings

    My father is on oxygen and in an assisted living facility. Hand sanitizer needs to be used by guests visiting his room. What is the safest hand sanitizer for them to use? Thank you


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