Understanding at-home oxygen therapy
Receiving too much or too little oxygen can be dangerous, and pulse oximeters and oxygen concentrators can assist individuals with compromised lung capacity. Lung cancer, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), COVID-19, and pneumonia are some of the health issues that may result in decreased oxygen levels. The need to take extra oxygen is known as oxygen therapy.
Using an oxygen concentrator is one way to get extra oxygen into the body. Oxygen concentrators are medical devices that can be used at home when prescribed by a healthcare provider.
The need for oxygen concentrators
Oxygen makes up about 21 percent of the air around us. High concentrations of oxygen could damage your lungs and not enough oxygen, a condition called hypoxia, may damage the brain, heart, and other organs.
Oxygen concentrators take in air from the room and filter out nitrogen to provide increased amounts of oxygen necessary for oxygen therapy.
Oxygen concentrators can be stationary or portable. The electrical pumps in oxygen concentrators ensure a constant supplying of oxygen from the surrounding air, unlike other solutions like oxygen cylinders.
How to use oxygen concentrators
Do not use the oxygen concentrator near an open flame or while smoking.
Ensure the oxygen concentrator is placed in an open space to reduce chances of overheating and device failure.
Check that none of the vents on the oxygen concentrator is blocked, as it may impact device performance.
Regularly check the oxygen concentrator for any alarms to ensure you are getting enough oxygen.
Monitoring oxygen levels at home
A small device called a pulse oximeter, or pulse ox, is usually placed on a fingertip, and is used to monitor oxygen levels. The pulse oximeter uses beams of light to indirectly measure the level of oxygen in the blood, so there’s no need to draw a blood sample.
A pulse oximeter may be useful for estimating blood oxygen levels, there is a risk of inaccuracy under certain circumstances. Some of the factors that can affect the accuracy of a pulse oximeter reading include fingernail polish, poor circulation, skin thickness, skin temperature, skin pigmentation, and current tobacco use.
Getting the best pulse oximeter reading
Follow your healthcare provider’s recommendation about when and how often to check your oxygen levels.
Make sure your hand is warm, relaxed, and held below the level of the heart when placing the pulse oximeter on your finger.
Sit still and do not move the finger with the pulse oximeter.
Wait until the reading on the pulse oximeter stops changing to displays one steady number.
Keep track of your levels by noting the date and time of each pulse oximeter reading.
Signs of low oxygen levels
- Bluish colouring in the face, lips, or nails
- A cough that gets worse, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing
- Chest pain or tightness
- Racing pulse rate
At-home oxygen therapy specialists
Medop CC prides itself on the quality and affordability of its specialised personal care products, including pulse oximeters and oxygen concentrators. To find out more about our products, get in touch with one of our specialists today.