Pulse Oximeters and Oxygen Concentrators: What to Know About At-Home Oxygen Therapy

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illustration of a man seated using a oxygen concentrator and hand with index finger inserted into a pulse oximeter

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To endure, we require oxygen likely from our lungs to the cells in our physique. Occasionally the quantity of oxygen in our blood can drop beneath normal degrees. Asthma, lung cancer, long-term obstructive pulmonary illness (COPD), the flu, and COVID-19 are some of the wellness issues that may perhaps result in oxygen degrees to fall. When the degrees are far too minimal, we may perhaps require to get further oxygen, known as oxygen treatment.

Just one way to get further oxygen into the physique is by utilizing an oxygen concentrator. Oxygen concentrators are medical gadgets essential to be sold and utilized only with a prescription.

You should really not to use an oxygen concentrator at dwelling unless it has been approved by a wellness treatment provider. Supplying oneself oxygen without chatting to a medical professional initial may perhaps do extra damage than excellent. You may perhaps finish up taking far too substantially or far too tiny oxygen. Choosing to use an oxygen concentrator without a prescription can lead to major wellness problems these types of as oxygen toxicity induced by obtaining far too substantially oxygen. It can also lead to a hold off in obtaining remedy for major situations like COVID-19.

Even however oxygen helps make up about 21 p.c of the air all-around us, respiration superior concentrations of oxygen may perhaps destruction your lungs. On the other hand, not obtaining ample oxygen into the blood, a ailment identified as hypoxia, could destruction the heart, brain, and other organs.

Come across out if you seriously require oxygen treatment by examining with your wellness treatment provider. If you do, your wellness treatment provider can establish how substantially oxygen you should really get and for how very long.

What do I require to know about oxygen concentrators?

Oxygen concentrators get in air from the home and filter out nitrogen. The procedure supplies the bigger quantities of oxygen desired for oxygen treatment.

Concentrators may perhaps be large and stationary or modest and portable. Concentrators are unique than tanks or other containers supplying oxygen mainly because they use electrical pumps to concentrate the continuous supply of oxygen that comes from the bordering air.

You may perhaps have seen oxygen concentrators for sale on the web without a prescription. At this time, the Fda has not accepted or cleared any oxygen concentrators to be sold or utilized without a prescription.

When utilizing an oxygen concentrator:

  • Do not use the concentrator, or any oxygen product or service, in close proximity to an open flame or when using tobacco
  • Place the concentrator in an open room to lessen likelihood of unit failure from overheating
  • Do not block any vents on the concentrator because it may perhaps influence unit overall performance
  • Periodically test your unit for any alarms to make certain you are obtaining ample oxygen.

If you are approved an oxygen concentrator for long-term wellness problems and have modifications in your respiration or oxygen degrees, or have indicators of COVID-19, simply call your wellness treatment provider. Do not make modifications to the oxygen degrees on your possess.

How are my oxygen degrees monitored?

Oxygen degrees are monitored with a modest unit identified as a pulse oximeter, or pulse ox.

Pulse oximeters are put on a finger, toe or forehead and use beams of light-weight to indirectly measure the degree of oxygen in the blood.

What do I require to know about pulse oximeters?

As with any unit, there is often a threat of an inaccurate reading through. If you are utilizing a pulse oximeter to watch your oxygen degrees and are involved about the reading through, call a wellness treatment provider. And do not rely only on a pulse oximeter. It is significant to retain monitor of your indicators, or how you come to feel. Speak to a medical professional if your indicators are major or get worse.

When utilizing a pulse oximeter:

  • Sit continue to and do not shift the component of your physique where by the pulse oximeter is
  • Do not use the unit on your hands when your hands are chilly
  • Get rid of all fingernail polish if utilizing the unit on your hands.

If you expert a problem or injury that you believe may perhaps be associated to a pulse oximeter or oxygen concentrator, you can voluntarily report it via the FDA’s MedWatch software.