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How Do I Prepare My Residence For Oxygen Therapy?
Oxygen Therapy At Home
Oxygen therapy is a common form of treatment prescribed for a number of different conditions. COPD, Emphysema, and Asthma are common examples of conditions treated with oxygen therapy.
In the past, people used to have to make daily trips to the hospital to receive oxygen. Thanks to advancements in technology, you can easily undergo oxygen therapy at home with minimal impact on your life.
However, it's important to remember oxygen is a dangerous and potentially volatile chemical. There are precautions you need to take to use your oxygen equipment at home safely.
The room where you store your oxygen equipment should be free of anything flammable. Get rid of any matches, lighters or cigarettes in the vicinity. Even gadgets like electric razors and electric blankets need to be removed. The room with your oxygen equipment should also have a working smoke detector that is maintained monthly.
Items for your oxygen therapy room:
- No smoking sign
- Supply of batteries for the smoke detector
- Fire extinguisher (Types to use: Water, Dry powder or CO2)
Set A Designated Area For Your Oxygen Equipment
Confining all your oxygen equipment is much safer than having it spread throughout your house. Keeping your oxygen equipment in one place allows you to control the environment and reduce the risks associated with oxygen therapy.
If you’re using oxygen tanks, store them in a cool dark place. Oxygen tanks should never be exposed to sunlight or stored in a warm area. Closets or basements are ideal places to store your oxygen tanks.
Print Off A Few No Smoking Signs
Even with keeping your oxygen equipment in one room, it’s still important to prevent smoking throughout the entire home. Oxygen (especially liquid oxygen) is incredibly flammable and is not worth the risk. All it takes is one small mistake to create an out of control fire. Print off a few no smoking signs for your kitchen, garage and the room with your oxygen equipment.
Another option is to invest in a nasal cream or gel to lubricate your nose. Always make sure you use a water-based cream. Petroleum and grease based creams are dangerous to use around oxygen therapy equipment. The risk is the petroleum and grease can accelerate the intensity of a fire.
Invest In Some Lubrication Materials
Using oxygen on a long-term basis makes it easy for the inside of your nose to get dry. The irritation from oxygen therapy can sometimes cause itching or occasional nose bleeds.
To avoid this, you need to increase the amount of moisture in your nose. One good way to do this is by investing in a humidifier for your room with your oxygen equipment. Keeping the room at a higher humidity will reduce irritation from the nasal cannula.
Notify Your Local Services Of Your Oxygen Use
In the case of an emergency, it's good to have your local services aware of your oxygen use. Emergency situations in residences that use oxygen require different procedures.
For those that live in an apartment or condo, you should notify your building manager about your oxygen use. They give you updated procedures for fire drills or evacuation situations.
Finally, you should also alert your electricity company. During a power outage, you’ll be unable to use your oxygen concentrator which can be detrimental to your health. Requesting a priority listing from your electricity company will let them know to prioritize returning power to your residence.
It’s also important to notify the fire department closest to you about your oxygen use. As you know, oxygen amplifies fires and makes it much more powerful. Notifying your fire department helps the firefighters know to use special techniques when fighting fires at your residence.
Your Home's Safety Is In Your Hands
In closing, the most important thing you can do to maintain home oxygen therapy is consistently maintained your equipment. The cleaner your equipment is, the safer it is to use and the better it will work.
If you're using a portable oxygen concentrator, you need to clean the filter every 4 to 6 months. Failing to clean or change the filter impacts the purity of the oxygen you inhale and makes your concentrator more likely to malfunction.
While cleaning your filter, you should also replace the batteries in your smoke detector, replenish your lubrication materials and organize your oxygen therapy room.
Following the tips in this article will keep you safe and help you get the most out of oxygen therapy!