Certain serious illnesses leave a lasting impact on your body and can make it difficult to breathe for months afterward. If your blood doesn’t have as much oxygen as it needs, you could face serious health risks. Thankfully, some medical devices can provide you with supplemental oxygen. What is home oxygen therapy, who needs it, and why?

Medical History

Home oxygen therapy gives you extra oxygen with an oxygen concentrator, and it can help if you have asthma, chronic bronchitis, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Also, if you’re recovering from pneumonia or lung cancer treatments, your doctor may recommend home oxygen therapy.

Blood Oxygen Levels

You can tell your blood oxygen levels are healthy when they are at or above 95 percent. Typically, when that number is at or lower than 88 percent, doctors will look for a solution like home oxygen therapy. Blood oxygen levels that are too low typically come with symptoms of headache, shortness of breath, and confusion, but the longer your levels are low, the more likely you are to experience damage to your heart or brain.

Equipment

Home oxygen therapy equipment offers many options depending on your lifestyle and how much oxygen you need. You’re probably most familiar with standard oxygen concentrators, which are 50-pound machines on wheels that run on electricity or batteries.

Some portable oxygen concentrators weigh far less, and you can use them in daily life. These devices can get expensive, so it’s often more affordable to look for a refurbished portable oxygen concentrator.

Oxygen Safety

While oxygen is largely safe, you should know how to avoid accidents. Never smoke around your oxygen concentrator, and don’t let others smoke near you, either. You should also stay at least five feet away from heat sources. In both cases, oxygen can cause the heat source to burn hotter and faster.

Additionally, always remember to keep your oxygen concentrator upright and attached to a fixed object so it can’t fall over.

Now that you understand the applications of home oxygen therapy and who needs it, ask your doctor if oxygen therapy is right for you.

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