The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Oxygen and COPD can often go hand-in-hand. Here’s how to be safe about it.
In 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) determined that 89% of deaths related to fire and home oxygen use were caused by smoking. For people suffering from lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the use of oxygen is pretty common. Although a steady flow of oxygen can be a relief for those that have trouble breathing, the presence of an oxygen tank can also pose a variety of risks to those that use it. Although easy to forget, the fact remains that oxygen is a key component of combustion and should be treated accordingly.
With your health in mind, the Lung Institute is here to give you 5 tips for Safe Oxygen Therapy Use to help you remain safe when using oxygen indoors and out.
5. Be Careful in the Kitchen
We all have to cook sometimes. However, when using oxygen, it’s key to remember that the various elements of cooking can be dangerous when coupled with an oxygen tank. When spending time in an active kitchen, keep oxygen away from both the stove top and oven, and avoid splattering grease as it can catch fire. Materials such as oil, grease and petroleum-based products are highly flammable and will burn readily in the presence of oxygen.
4. Avoid Electrical Equipment
Aside from direct heat, electrical equipment can be a source of hazard as a potential spark could lead to a dangerous reaction. To start, do not use electric razors while using oxygen. It’s also advised not to use extension cords to power your oxygen concentrator. As a general rule, it’s recommended to keep the following items 6 feet away from your oxygen:
- Toys with electric motors
- Electric baseboard or space heaters
- Wood stoves or fireplaces
- Electric blankets
- Electric toothbrushes
3. Keep Away From Flames
Although oxygen is not flammable, it is a key element within combustion. So with that in mind, always remember to keep oxygen canisters at least 5-10 feet away from gas stoves, lighted fireplaces, woodstoves, candles or any other sources of open flames. Even when dining in a restaurant, it’s advised to keep at least 6 feet away from any source of fire such as a fireplace or stove.
2. Secure Your Oxygen Tank
One problem with using an oxygen tank is the size and heft of them. Due to the weight and dimensions, these cylinders are often prone to tipping over. It’s important to your safety and the longevity of your tank to secure the cylinder at all times. If improperly secured and the tank was to be knocked over, this could cause gas to escape and the tank to become a missile. Always be careful when maneuvering around tubing as this can cause tripping or entanglement, and remember that the best position for an oxygen tank at rest is in the upright position away from the sun.
1. Don’t Smoke
Perhaps the most important tip on this list is to avoid smoking and other smokers when using oxygen. Again, oxygen is a key element to combustion, so to bring a lit flame just under your oxygen tubes is extremely dangerous. As a general rule of thumb, no one should be smoking in a room or car in which you are using oxygen. Although smoking is a difficult habit to kick, it is beneficial to your health and quality of life to give up smoking for good as it can drastically affect your longevity and pulmonary function.
Time can be a factor in any decision, so if you’re looking to take control of your health, don’t wait. If you or a loved one suffers from COPD or another lung disease, the Lung Institute may be able to help with a variety of cellular therapy options. Contact us at (800) 729-3065 today to find out if you qualify for cellular therapy.
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