Love is like oxygen supplies equipment
Oxygen supplies equipment is more often than not a new lease on life -unless you’re the shark in Jaws. For people with low levels of blood oxygen, however, an oxygen cylinder or tank can make a huge difference in quality of life. Oxygen therapy helps to:
- Relieve shortness of breath and fatigue.
- Enhance sleep in people with sleep problems associated with breathing disorders.
- Prolong lifespan in some people with COPD.
It does the aforementioned in respiratory and circulatory conditions such as:
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).
- Cystic fibrosis.
- Pulmonary hypertension.
- Obstructive sleep apnea.
- Nerve and muscle or ribcage diseases.
- Heart failure.
- Severe pneumonia.
- Severe asthma.
- Respiratory distress syndrome (in premature babies).
Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (in premature babies).
Even though we all feel sometimes like we could really use a breath of fresh air, the fact is that oxygen therapy must be prescribed by a doctor, and even then it doesn’t address the underlying condition causing shortness of breath. Moreover, long term oxygen therapy can cause more harm than good, such as suppressing breathing drive and making the patient less fit. Doctor and patient must weigh the benefits of therapy against the possible disadvantages, and resort to oxygen therapy only when it is absolutely necessary. In order to ascertain whether the patient can profit from oxygen therapy, the level of oxygen in the blood is measured with an oximeter, a spirometer, or a similar device.
Once it has been established that the patient qualifies for oxygen therapy, length and frequency of treatment have to be determined as well, that is when and for how long oxygen is to be administered, and how much of it. Whether individual needs oxygen for short or long periods of time has a direct influence on the type of oxygen supplies equipment used. For example, people who require oxygen only for short periods during the day are indicated to use oxygen cylinders. Cylinders are meant to provide short-term relief for attacks of breathlessness, usually after an illness. Blood oxygen levels are checked for normalcy after a short period to ensure that therapy is not masking a serious heart or lung condition.
On the other hand, people who need oxygen during longer periods during the day and at night during sleep are usually prescribed an oxygen concentrator. Concentrators take air from the room, filter out gases, and stores oxygen that is then delivered to the patient. This creates an inexhaustible source of oxygen that doesn’t require refills. Still, it’s advisable to keep a backup cylinder just in case the concentrator malfunctions. Regardless of whether oxygen is supplied via a cylinder or concentrator, it is almost always delivered through flexible tubing connected to the device, and which ends in a nasal cannula (an exception would be a CPAP machine, which delivers its supply through a CPAP mask).
- Oxygen supplies equipment safety:
- No smoking allowed near ongoing oxygen therapy.
- Keep away from flames, heat, and flammable liquids like alcohol gel, cleaning fluid, and aerosols.
- Keep cylinders upright.
- Keep oxygen in an airy room when not in use.
Walking can cause shortness of breath; simple logic would dictate that a person on oxygen shouldn’t -or simply can’t- go for a walk. Fortunately, there are portable cylinders and cylinder bags that allow people to take a walk outside -even going for a spin on a wheelchair. Keep in mind though that ambulatory oxygen therapy is contraindicated in patients with heart failure or who smoke and must be discussed with a doctor.