AD| If you have lung disease or an illness such a COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) you may find that you need supplemental home oxygen therapy to help reduce breathlessness and be more comfortable at home. Although this is not always easy. For a lot of people, it can be upsetting to need oxygen at home and can feel like quite an adjustment. A lot of people can feel embarrassed and stop being as social when they are using oxygen. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Being tied to an oxygen machine might make life a bit more complicated, but it’s not usually forever.
Here are some tips for living with home oxygen.
The first tip is to remember that home oxygen therapy will improve your quality of life. It will help you recover faster and get back to your normal self.
Talk to your loved ones
If you feel embarrassed about it, talk to your family and friends that you’ll be using oxygen at home so it won’t become a big shock to them or cause any awkward conversations for either of you.
Talk to them about any concerns you have. This can help you navigate the change while you are getting used to using this at home.
Learn the maintenance requirements
Ensure you know how to maintain your oxygen machine and oxygen concentrators by using the knowledge of your supplier. Also, it may be worth sharing this information with someone who lives with you or another member of your family in case they need to help you if you are feeling breathless or having a bad day.
Keeping it clean
Make sure you know when you need to change and the tubing and cannula. Make a note of when it was last changed so you don’t forget! Even if the tubing and cannula don’t look dirty, they still need regular changes.
Keep lipbalm handy
Using oxygen can make your mouth and lips dry, it can even lead to cracked lips. So prevent this by having a lipbalm nearby and applying it regularly.
Plan for loss of power
If you are extremely dependant on home oxygen, you should have a backup plan in case there’s a power cut. Look into a portable unit for these stations, or even a portable power generator may be a good plan! You can also inform your energy supplier that you are on oxygen so they can prioritise your service if there is a power disruption.
Be fire safe
Keep oxygen equipment such as tanks away from any source of open flame, don’t allow any way to smoke near your machine and don’t use flamibile liquid near it. Be clear on the fire safety guidelines around using oxygen at home and make sure you have a fire alarm installed!
Find out when you can stop using it
The good news is that most people don’t need to use oxygen therapy forever. So find out when it is safe for you to stop using it.
If you’re looking for other health-related posts, please check out my health tip section!