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When a loved one has COPD or another chronic lung disease, knowing how to balance taking care of them and yourself can be difficult. This page provides helpful resources for caregivers including guides on helping your loved one quit smoking and how to take time out of your day for yourself.

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Safety Measures Every Oxygen User Should Take

By Do More With Oxygen

Tue, Jun 10, 2014

When most people hear the word oxygen, their thoughts don’t go to a doctor’s prescription. However, as an oxygen user, you understand that oxygen is not just a gas; it’s a necessary support system that helps you overcome the shortness of breath that comes with lung disease. Safety Measures Every Oxygen User Should Take

Using oxygen can provide the following benefits1:

  • Improve your mood
  • Help you sleep better
  • Increase your mental alertness
  • Help you be more physically active
  • Allow you to carry out day-to-day activities, such as dressing and bathing
  • Prevent heart failure if you have severe lung disease

If your doctor prescribes oxygen therapy, there are three options1:

  • Compressed oxygen gas is stored in steel or aluminum tanks or cylinders and comes in different sizes for home and on-the-go use.
  • Liquid oxygen can be stored in larger amounts without taking up as much space, but over time, the liquid oxygen evaporates.
  • Stationary oxygen concentrators are about the size of a microwave and concentrate oxygen from the air in the room. Portable oxygen concentrators allow you to take your oxygen with you in a smaller, more convenient format.

While oxygen is a safe, non-flammable gas, it supports combustion. Here are some safety tips you should follow1:

  • Avoid using oxygen in the presence of open flames, including matches, candles, cigarette lighters and lit cigarettes or cigars. If a guest in your home must smoke, insist that they step outside.
  • Remain at least five feet away from other sources of heat, including gas or electric stoves and space heaters, when using oxygen.
  • Avoid using petroleum-based lotions or creams. Flammable products containing petroleum can combust in the presence of oxygen. To eliminate any risk, choose water-based products.
  • Store oxygen cylinders safely. Keep them upright and secure on an approved cart or storage device.
  • Remember to shut of the oxygen supply valve when you’re not using your oxygen.
  • Follow the instructions your oxygen supply company gives you regarding safe use. If you have any questions, contact them directly.

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  1. American Lung Association

Topics: oxygen safety

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