When your doctor prescribes oxygen therapy, they’re doing so because they believe it’s the best option for your health. Many people adjust well to oxygen therapy and experience a new, better version of life once they can breathe easier. Unfortunately, as with any prescription, some people also experience side effects from oxygen therapy. Keep reading to learn five tips for avoiding these negative effects.
Avoid Dryness With a Humidifier
While oxygen therapy will help you breathe better and easier, the constant oxygen flow into your nose can dry out the inside of your nostrils. Sometimes, that dryness can cause irritation and even nosebleeds. To avoid dryness and other side effects, attach a humidifier to your oxygen concentrator. The humidifier moistens the air that flows into your nose so your nostrils won’t dry out.
Avoid Dryness With a Nasal Spray
If you don’t want to use a humidifier all the time, you can use a nasal spray to combat nasal dryness. Saline nasal sprays or nasal gels are the best options for preventing dryness and related side effects such as nosebleeds. Speak with your physician if you already use a medicated nasal spray or if you have concerns about using a nasal spray to alleviate dryness.
Avoid Dry Skin With Water-Based Moisturizer
Unfortunately, the dry oxygen you’re breathing and the constant presence of the cannula that helps you breathe it can dry out the skin around your nose and the inside of your nostrils. While dry skin may not sound as serious as nasal dryness and nosebleeds, this side effect is uncomfortable. Use a water-based moisturizer on your face, including around your nose, to mitigate any dryness. You may need to apply extra during certain weather conditions, such as dry summer heat.
Avoid Sore Ears and Tangles With Facial Tape
Just like the cannula can irritate the skin under your nose, the tubing that holds the cannula can irritate your cheeks and ears. Sometimes that tubing even gets tangled while you sleep or try to walk around your home. While these aren’t medical side effects, the irritation and frustration will still affect your daily life. Taping the tubing to your cheeks or neck can minimize the irritation and prevent tangles.
Avoid Blood Oxygen Worries With a Monitor
If you’re following your doctor’s oxygen therapy prescription correctly, then you shouldn’t worry about blood oxygen problems and oxygen toxicity. However, since you’re already struggling to breathe, it’s a good idea to keep a pulse oximeter in your home to monitor blood oxygen levels. If you start to experience any oxygen toxicity symptoms such as chest pain, you can check your blood oxygen and give an accurate report when you go to the doctor.
Avoiding oxygen therapy side effects is difficult but possible. We hope these five tips can help you mitigate negative side effects and enjoy your new life on oxygen therapy. If your doctor recently prescribed oxygen therapy, and you need a home oxygen machine, Bridge to Care can help you find the best one for your home and financial needs.