Your body needs oxygen, however, if you suffer from any lung disease or any other condition that may prevent your body from getting enough oxygen, Oxygen Therapy may help.
Your Doctor is the one who must define whether or not you need oxygen, as well as how much oxygen per minute you should receive and the number of hours you should receive it. Some people may require Oxygen Therapy only when exercising, or when sleeping. Other people may need oxygen all day.
Some of the diseases for which oxygen may be needed are Asthma, Chronic Bronchitis, Cystic Fibrosis, Pulmonary Emphysema, Lung Cancer, Pneumonia, Pulmonary Fibrosis, etc.
There are several equipments that provide oxygen, the best option for you will depend on how much oxygen you need, the hours you require it, as well as your lifestyle and other variables.
Stationary Oxygen Concentrator or for use At Home. These units work connected to your home electric outlet. When they are turned on, they take in the ambient air and filter the oxygen, which is delivered to the user in a continuous flow system. Depending on the model and oxygen delivery capacity, these units can weigh between 15 and 30 kilos and have wheels to move them. In case of electric power failure, you will require an alternate source of oxygen.
Portable Oxygen Concentrator. These units are a good option for when you want to go shopping, to the market or to work. They work with batteries, connected to your home power outlet or connected to the car. They weigh between 1 and 10 kilos, depending on their oxygen delivery capacity and flow system. The smallest and lightest units can be carried by hand or shoulder strap. The largest and heaviest units are carried in an aluminum cart that allows them to be dragged. Generally, all models of portable oxygen concentrators are approved for use on airplanes, trains and cruises.
Liquid Oxygen Tank. Usually, oxygen is in a gaseous state, but at low temperatures, it becomes liquid. Thus, it needs less space, so it can be stored in thermos tanks. When it comes out, it becomes gas immediately, so you can breathe. A tank can weigh up to 50 kilos, and you need to refill it every few weeks. With these tanks you can fill small, lightweight canisters that allow you to leave the house.
Compressed Oxygen Tank. This is the traditional option. They are the tanks or traditional cylinders, of aluminum or iron. These are filled with compressed oxygen. They are heavy units and some are not very easy to mobilize. Empty tanks should be replaced or refilled periodically.
You will also need an accessory to breathe oxygen, some of these are:
Nasal cannula. It is a plastic tube with two exits on one end. These outlets are placed on your nose and the tube goes over your ears and down the neck to connect to the source of oxygen. There are several types of nasal cannulae and several lengths of oxygen tubes.
Face Mask. This is placed over your nose and mouth. The mask does not allow you to eat or drink while you use it and it is also difficult to talk. These are used to receive higher levels of oxygen.
Tracheostomy, catheter. This catheter is surgically installed by your doctor. It has advantages and disadvantages, it is small and if you have your shirt buttoned to the last button, it is difficult to notice, it requires a small oxygen flow that goes directly to your respiratory airway. But it also has several disadvantages, the main one is that it is invasive and can become infected.
Most important, your safety when using oxygen.
Oxygen is a flammable gas so you should be careful when using it. Some of the recommendations for your safety are:
Do not smoke and do not let anyone light a cigarette nearby. Keep away from any flame, match, lighter and smoking tobacco.
Keep a distance of 1.5 meters from any source of heat. This includes gas stoves, candles, burning fireplaces, and electric or gas heaters.
Do not use flammable products such as paints, sprays, etc.
Keep the oxygen containers in the correct position, prevent them from turning over.
Do not use creams or products with fats or oil, this includes creams such as Vaseline.
Keep a fire extinguisher nearby. Inform the fire department near your home that you need to use oxygen at home.
Inform your electric company that you use an oxygen concentrator and require priority service in case of electric power failure.
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