Breathing supplemental oxygen with an oxygen concentrator is designed to be a safe and life-sustaining activity. But, as with all types of devices, it is important that you learn a few tips for proper usage.
One misconception you may have is in comparing a portable oxygen concentrator to compressed oxygen or oxygen tanks, equipment also used for providing supplemental oxygen. Though you are using an oxygen compression unit, it does not carry the same hazards.
It’s still important to consider the following guidance when it comes to portable oxygen concentrator safety.
1. Maintain safe distances from open flames or fires.
While sitting near a bonfire making smores is an enjoyable way to spend a summer night, there are certainly other ways to get your chocolate fix! Fire poses a hazard around oxygen. Always maintain at least two meters between a fire and your portable oxygen concentrator and accessories. This includes gas stove tops or your favorite Martha Stewart candle.
2. Use precaution when showering or bathing.
For your safety, it’s crucial that your portable oxygen concentrator does not get wet or be exposed to moist air. However, depending on your specific needs, you may find that you’ll need to take a shower or bathe while using your unit.
A bathroom exhaust fan, extended tubing leading to your cannula and a detachable showerhead will all make this experience easier – and safer – for you.
3. Maintain safe distances from pools and other bodies of water – and keep an eye on the sky!
As with the previous portable oxygen concentrator safety tip, it’s important that you prevent your unit from getting wet. Hazards might include a hug from a grandkid straight out of the pool or being caught in a light summer shower while on an evening stroll.
If your portable oxygen concentrator gets wet, you must turn off the unit and unplug it immediately.
4. Avoid smoking while on or near a portable oxygen concentrator.
Smoking during oxygen therapy is dangerous—and will likely result in injury!
You must not allow smoking in the same room with the portable oxygen concentrator or where any oxygen carrying accessories are located.
If you intend to smoke, you must always turn the oxygen concentrator off, remove your cannula and move to a different room, leaving the unit behind. If you’re unable to leave the room, you must wait at least 10 minutes after you’ve turned the portable oxygen concentrator off before smoking.
5. Avoid aerosol products.
It is important that you avoid aerosol products while using your portable oxygen concentrator. This includes hairsprays, many body sprays, and even some air fresheners. Aerosol products are highly flammable.
6. Properly store your portable oxygen concentrator when you’re on the go.
Yes, your portable oxygen concentrator allows you to be mobile! But, whether you’re traveling by plane, train or automobile, you must ensure your unit is securely stored. This will help you avoid injuring yourself or passengers, as well as prevent damage to the machine. Dropping a portable oxygen concentrator – or allowing it to fall off of a seat or overhead carrying cabinet – can void your warranty!
7. Do not block intake vents.
One last portable oxygen concentrator safety tip to remember relates to the intake vents. As you can imagine, any blockage of the vents can inhibit performance, whether it’s baggy clothing or a carry bag that’s been shifted to an incorrect position on the machine. It’s important to keep an eye on this as you use your unit day to day.