Home Oxygen Treatment

I use my experience as a home oxygen treatment specialist to tend to your breathing problems arising out of COPD.

We need oxygen to live. Shortage of breath due to low level of oxygen in your blood can be a nightmarish experience. It is important to maintain a normal amount of oxygen, that is, more than 85 units (mmHg) for comfortable breathing conditions.

If you are suffering from pulmonary diseases, like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), then your blood oxygen level may fall below 55-60 units. Heavy smokers often suffer from emphysema and chronic bronchitis or COPD, which leave them gasping dangerously, even with normal oxygen levels. In severe cases of COPD, it is normal to have very low oxygen levels. This can be fatal if you do not consult a lung specialist at this juncture or when you first experience the symptoms of COPD.

Home Oxygen treatment indications

I often prescribe special treatment by giving added oxygen to patients like you, so that you can breathe better and lead a prolonged life. This therapy builds endurance and coping skills. It can be done in a hospital, clinic or at home. It is better to use extra oxygen for 24 hours a day instead of 15 hours. If people say that you are addicted to oxygen, then rest assured you are not you just need more oxygen than others.

Home oxygen therapy can also be administered to patients with low blood oxygen levels, due to:

  • Lung cancer
  • Emergency critical and fatal asthma attacks
  • Severe angina heart problems, when all probable medical care has been given and heart surgery is not possible.

I, sometimes, advise home oxygen treatment for breathlessness due to fatigue of breathing muscles, fluid in the lungs and the blockage of the respiratory tract.

You may be unable to breathe properly during physical exertion if you have a chest disease. This does not always mean your blood oxygen level will fall. I will measure your oxygen level while you rest and while you exercise, and then determine if you need added oxygen. You may or may not benefit from this during your exercise routine. If you do, then use oxygen when you need, especially the activity that is making you short of breath. If not, there may be other reasons for your condition that I will need to diagnose.

If you find that you have received added oxygen because of shortage of breath during your stay in a hospital, then it may have been given for other underlying causes.

Blood oxygen levels can also become very low during severe lung conditions but become better post-treatment.

The primary aim for giving oxygen in COPD is to prolong life, and not to relieve shortage of breath. The latter is just an additional benefit.

Home oxygen therapy procedure and oxygen equipment

How much oxygen you need is generally determined by taking blood samples from an artery in the wrist. The blood oxygen levels can differ everyday depending on the lung disease or other medical issues.

I recommend home oxygen therapy if the quality of breathing air is low. I will measure the amount post-recovery from your serious ailment, when your condition is stable and there is no fear of infection.

The quantity of oxygen you need is measured in litres per minute and the usual dosage is minimum 16 hours a day or longer.

Generally, added oxygen is given:

  • Through an electrical machine called the oxygen concentrator
  • This machine distillates oxygen from the air through a fine filter. This uses a standard power point to draw power
  • The oxygen concentrator does not remove more oxygen from the air than an adult will while breathing normally
  • The oxygen is delivered into the nose via soft plastic prongs attached to a long tube that is fitted to the outflow port of the machine. This makes it easy to move around the house even while wearing the nasal prongs
  • You can also use it while eating or drinking
  • If the nose prongs do not bring up the oxygen level and maintain the required flow rate, then oxygen is given directly through a fine oxygen catheter into the trachea. It is easy to clean and change this catheter at home
  • Lightweight portable oxygen cylinders with wheels or battery-operated holsters and backpacks are good if you feel that your exercise capacity has increased after being given additional oxygen. These have the added advantage of delivering oxygen only while breathing in and not continuously. So, oxygen is not wasted while exhaling
  • If your nose dries up and you feel uncomfortable, then apply water-based emollients several times a day
  • If you need to regulate humidity, then use a bubble bottle with water through which oxygen is fizzed.
Journey with oxygen

It is easy to travel with the oxygen concentrator, when you are on long trips. Long distance buses allow you to travel with the oxygen concentrator, with or without a fee. Airlines safety rules may not permit you to take your own compressed oxygen kit but will provide similar equipment so that all patients of lung diseases can travel.

Home oxygen precautions

DO NOT SMOKE or go near open flame like gas stoves or fireplaces while wearing oxygen. Oxygen will NOT explode but will support burning.

Feeling at home with added oxygen

Pros of added oxygen treatment at home:

  • With a few adjustments to your way of living, you can have a better quality of life when you have serious lung ailments
  • It is better to be at home with additional oxygen than be confined to a hospital room
  • The long tubing of your oxygen concentrator help you to your lawn or sit outside in your verandah
  • You can move around town to do run errands, go to the movies or walk about with your portable oxygen kit
  • As you experience the positives of undergoing home oxygen treatment, your will become more confident of using it extensively in and outside home without feeling embarrassed.
** This site is for patient information only **