Frequently Asked Questions
What are the do's and dont's of oxygen safety?
Oxygen does not explode and cannot burn by itself. However, fire will occur when oxygen exists in combination with a combustible or flammable material and a source of ignition.
To prevent the chance of fire, follow these rules:
DO NOT permit the use of open flames or burning tobacco in the room where oxygen is being used or stored.
DO NOT use any household electric equipment in oxygen enriched areas ( e.g., electric razor, heaters, blankets).
DO NOT use heavy coatings of oily lotions, face creams, or hair dressings while receiving oxygen.
DO NOT use aerosol sprays in the vicinity of oxygen equipment.
DO NOT use petroleum based products (i.e., petroleum jelly) around oxygen.
DO NOT oil and grease any oxygen equipment.
DO NOT allow oxygen tubing to be covered by any objects.
DO NOT leave oxygen on when equipment is not in use.
DO NOT abuse or handle oxygen containers roughly.
DO NOT store oxygen in confined areas.
DO NOT allow untrained persons or children to adjust oxygen equipment.
DO NOT store oxygen containers near radiators, heat ducts, steam pipes or other sources of heat.
DO NOT transport oxygen in an enclosed area or the trunk of your car.
ALWAYS store oxygen secured with a chain or a stand.
NEVER CHANGE your prescribed liter flow without first checking with your doctor.
What is COPD? (causes, symptoms and treatment)
We hear the term COPD all the time, but do you know what it is? It is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. Recognizing symptoms early and receiving treatment can make a difference. What is COPD, what causes COPD, what are the symptoms, and what is the treatment?
The American Lung Association definition - Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a term referring to two lung diseases, chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Both conditions cause obstruction of airflow that interferes with normal breathing. Both frequently exist together, so physicians prefer the term COPD.
Chronic bronchitis is the inflammation and eventual scarring of the lining of the bronchial tubes. When these bronchial tubes are inflamed they allow less air to pass to and from the lungs. If this happens for an extended amount of time the excessive mucus is produced, lining in bronchial tubes thickens, cough develops, lungs become scarred, and the airflow becomes obstructed. The bronchial tubes then make a perfect environment for viral and bacterial infections.
Symptoms of chronic bronchitis include chronic cough, increased mucus, frequent clearing of the throat and shortness of breath. The condition has been defined by the presence of a mucus-producing cough most days of the month, three months of a year for two years in a row without other underlying disease to explain the cough.
Emphysema begins with the destruction of air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs where oxygen from the air is exchanged for carbon dioxide in the blood. Damage to the air sacs is irreversible and results in permanent “holes” in the tissues of the lower lungs. As air sacs are destroyed, the lungs can transfer less and less oxygen to the bloodstream, causing shortness of breath. The lungs also lose their elasticity, which is important for keeping airways open. In advanced emphysema cases, patients are extremely short of breath.
Symptoms of emphysema include cough, shortness of breath and a limited tolerance for exercise. As the disease advances, the work of breathing is so great that major weight loss occurs.
A number of things can cause COPD including; smoking, breathing secondhand smoke, environmentally hazards/pollutions, and genetics. Smoking is the number one cause of COPD. The best thing to do is to quit smoking to reduce chances of COPD.
Anyone that is experiencing symptoms of emphysema or chronic bronchitis should talk to the Doctor immediately. COPD is treatable and preventable. Treatment options include; medication, oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation, physical training, lifestyle changes, and surgery. All of these options can be discussed with your doctor. For more information visit these links:
What is an Oxygen Concentrator?
The air we breathe is made up of 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and 1% other gases. Oxygen concentrators are electrically powered and are essentially air separation devices. This device takes in room air then passes it through a material called molecular sieve. This material separates the oxygen from the nitrogen and other gases. The output is a supply of 90% - 95% pure oxygen delivered to the patient.
The benefit of this machine is that you will not deplete your oxygen supply. Before these
machines were invented in the 1970's oxygen patients were reliant on big oxygen tanks/cylinders that had a limited supply and had to be delivered. This oxygen concentrator will supply all the oxygen you need without the fear of running out.
What is a Conserving Device?
This is an oxygen conserving device and its purpose is to do exactly what it's name suggests, conserve oxygen. It fits onto portable oxygen cylinders and is set to the patients exact liter flow. This device controls the amount of oxygen released from the cylinder that would otherwise be wasted without such a device.
What is a CPAP?
CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. If you have sleep apnea your airway collapses during the night and prevents air from getting in your lungs. This will cause you to stop breathing, which in turn causes sleep disturbances and puts a strain on your heart. CPAP is a common therapy for this disorder. The machine blows air out through a tube into a mask fitted to your face. Continuous refers to the manor the air is administered, there is a continuous flow of air. This air pressure holds your airways open so air is able to reach the lungs.
What is a BiPAP?
BiPAP stands for Bi-level Positive Airway Pressure. If you have sleep apnea your airway collapses during the night and prevents air from getting in your lungs. This will cause you to stop breathing, which in turn causes sleep disturbances and puts a strain on your heart. BiPAP is a common therapy for this disorder. The machine blows air out through a tube into a mask fitted to your face. This air pressure holds your airways open so air is able to reach the lungs. Bi-Level refers to the manor the air is administered, there are two levels of pressure. A higher pressure when you breath in(inspiration) and a lower pressure when you breath out (expiration). This bi-level feature makes it more comfortable for some because there is not a constant air pressure when attempting to exhale.
Any Questions about Sleep Apnea; Causes, Symptoms, Effects and Treatment?
Common Symptoms of Sleep Apnea:
♦ Frequent pauses of breathing(apnea) during sleep
♦ Choking or gasping during sleep to get air into the lungs
♦ Loud snoring
♦ Sudden awakenings to restart breathing
♦ Waking in a sweat during the night
♦ Feeling tired and not rested in the morning
♦ Headaches, sore throat, or dry mouth in the mornings after waking
♦ Daytime sleepiness
Causes of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
♦ Shape of the head or neck may create a small airway
♦ Larger tonsils or adenoids
♦ Obese or overweight
♦ Throat muscles and tongue relax during sleep creating an obstruction in airway
♦ Snoring causes the soft palate to get longer causing obstruction
♦ Nasal congestion, blockages and irritations
♦ Family History of sleep apnea
♦ Other disorders or syndromes or physical conditions that block or obstruct airways during sleep
Effects of Sleep Apnea to the Body:
If you have sleep apnea, you stop breathing during sleep, and the oxygen levels decrease causing oxygen deprivation. This imbalance in your body stimulates the brain to restart the breathing process. The brain sends the signal to wake up so the oxygen can enter the airway. These waking signals save your life but they also make you sleep deprived.
Sleep deprivation and oxygen deprivation are the biggest concerns with sleep apnea. The person with sleep apnea and the sleeping partner are experiencing sleep deprivation. Problems associated with sleep deprivation include but are not limited to: poor mental and emotional health, irritability, driving accidents, depression, slower reaction time and may lower the quality of life.
Oxygen deprivation problems include heart disease, stroke, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, sexual dis function, memory problems and sometimes other health risks depending on the severity of the apnea.
Diagnosing Sleep Apnea:
If you believe you are experiencing sleep apnea, talk to your Doctor about your symptoms. If a sleep disorder is suspected, your doctor will refer you to a sleep specialist for evaluation. An overnight diagnostic sleep study (a polysomnogram, or PSG) is used to determine the type and severity of the disorder, as well as appropriate treatment.
If it is determined that you have sleep apnea you will be prescribed Positive Airway Pressure (PAP) therapy. This PAP therapy gently blows air into your nose and/or mouth to prevent your airway from collapsing. This PAP therapy comes in two forms Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) meaning the air is a continuous pressure, or Bi-Level Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP) meaning two levels of air pressure. This equipment is an effective treatment to sleep apnea. It is available through PaO2 Home Medical Equipment with a Doctor's prescription.
What is a Pressure Ulcer (Bed Sore), Stages and Treatment?
When is a Patient at risk for Pressure Ulcers (bed sores)?
Patient is immobile of inactive- Patient is experiencing loss of blood flow to the skin due to lack of movement.
Body size and shape- Patients that are very thin or obese have a higher risk of pressure ulcers. Obese patients have fewer blood vessels close to the skin creating reduced blood flow. Very thin patients lack adequate cushioning between bone and skin.
Skin conditions- Thinning skin form either age or medications makes skin more susceptible.
Nutrition- A healthy diet and calorie intake maintains skin elasticity and thickness.
Incontinence and infection- Urine, fecal matter and sweat can cause skin to soften and be at risk of tearing.
Circulation- Edema and swelling due to poor blood circulation makes the skin less resistant to pressure.
How do Pressure Ulcers Form?
Pressure- When blood is cut off in an area by pressure for an extended amount of time.
Moisture- Overly moist skin tears easily due to break down.
Shear- Capillaries stretch and tear when skin remains stationary on bed linens and surface moves.
Friction- When skin is pulled across a surface and outer layer is broken down.
Shown below are Pressure Ulcers Stages I - IV
Prevention and Treatment of Pressure Ulcers:
Patient's that are highly susceptible to decubitus ulcers or who currently have Stage I through IV pressure sores will benefit from the use of a LOW AIR LOSS MATTRESS.
Features and Benefits of LOW AIR LOSS MATTRESSES
♦ Pressure Relief / Alternating- Alternate cells fill and empty on a 9 minute cycle.
♦ Static Mode Feature- Press the static button and the alternation is halted to preform patient transfers or other procedures.
♦ Low Air Loss Vents- Air cells in the torso region have low air loss to help maintain a dry microclimate at theskins surface.
♦ Full Length Air Cells- Soft full length air cell bottom prevents bottoming out in a power failure.
♦ CPR Pull- Easy to release air in the event of an emergency; just reinsert the plug to use system again.
♦ Ultra-Soft Cover- Laminated with polyurethane for excellent stain resistance, soft and smooth to minimizefriction. Fluid-proof quilted underside for comfort.
♦ Low Pressure Alert Light- Indicates that unit should be checked by provider/caregiver.
♦ Adjustable Firmness- Select proper inflation for every patient.
How many puffs are left in my Meter Dose Inhaler?
How to Check the Contents of Your Meter Dose Inhaler:
Shaking the cartridge will not give you a good estimate of how much medication is left. A simple method is shown in the diagram below.
1. Float the cartridge in enough cold water that it will cover it standing up, and note the position it takes.
2.Look at the diagram below to determine the contents.
How to set up Portable Oxygen Cylinders, change Conserving Device and Regulators?
How to set up Portable Oxygen Cylinders:
Having Problems? If the regulator fails to function, use this troubleshooting guide.
- Remove plastic seal from oxygen cylinder.
- Slide the regulator over the post valve on the cylinder.
- Align index pins with index pin alignment holes in post valve. Hand tighten T-handle.
- Slowly open the cylinder valve, using toggle, counterclockwise.
- Turn dial to your prescribed liter flow number.
- Place cannula in nostrils and breathe through nose to begin oxygen flow. Oxygen will flow/pulse only while inhaling.
How To Clean Oxygen Supplies?
Cleaning Oxygen Supplies
1. Wipe outside with damp cloth to remove dust and dirt.
2. If you have a gray concentrator there is an external filter that needs cleaned weekly (Blue Respironics Everflo do not have external filters)
A. To clean filter remove wash in clean hot soapy water and rinse thoroughly.
B. Remove excess water with a soft and absorbent towel, then replace filter.
C. If you require assistance or additional filters call PaO2 Home Medical
-Humidifier Bottle/ Water Bottle (it is not required to have a humidifier bottle, it only adds a very small amount of moisture to oxygen, if you need additional moisture we recommend using a room humidifier instead)
1. Refill with distilled water as necessary. Discard any remaining water before refilling.
2. Clean humidifier bottle every three days.
A. Wash in warm soapy water and rinse with clean hot water.
B. Soak in a 1-3 mixture of white vinegar and water for 30 seconds, rinse with water.
C. Do not reuse vinegar and water mixture.
D. Replace humidifier bottle as needed.
-Nasal Cannula and Oxygen Tubing
1. Wipe with damp cloth if soiled.
2. DO NOT attempt to soak/clean tubing.
3. Replace when needed. If supplies needed call PaO2