Your doctor may prescribe oxygen therapy to help you breathe a little easier, but how is that decision made and what can you expect once you’ve been given a prescription for oxygen therapy? Read on to find out!
Receiving a Prescription for Oxygen Therapy1
Unless you’ve been in a serious emergency situation, your doctor will need to run a few tests to determine if you can benefit from oxygen therapy. One test that may be administered is called an arterial blood gas test. This test is conducted by placing a small needle into an artery (typically your wrist) to obtain a sample of blood. The blood is then examined in lab to determine your blood oxygen level.
Another test that may be conducted is a pulse oximetry test. Here, a small sensor attaches to your fingertip or toe and the device uses light to determine about how much oxygen you have in your blood.
If the results of these tests indicate that your blood does not have enough oxygen in it, you may receive an oxygen therapy prescription.
Your prescription will tell you when and how long you should use the oxygen. Depending on your condition, you may only need to use it at certain times.
Before you go home…1
Before you go home, your home oxygen provider will help you learn about your oxygen therapy equipment. You’ll receive important safety tips for using your equipment. Some tips include:
- Never smoke or be around those who are smoking while using your equipment.
- Stay away from flammable materials such as aerosol sprays and paint thinners while using your equipment.
- Stay at least 10 feet away from heat sources such as candles and gas stoves.
1. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Accessed 3/23/15.