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Living With COPD

Learn how to live with your symptoms so you can make the most of your life.

Living with home oxygen therapy is an integral part of your respiratory treatment, and should help you enjoy a better quality of life.

Feel Confident With Your Oxygen Therapy

Oxygen therapy might take time to get used to - but you are not alone. Thousands of Canadians use oxygen therapy to breathe more easily, live longer, and make the most of each day. Although at times it may be difficult, you can live a long, fulfilled life with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

Oxygen Therapy at Home

Adopting a lifestyle that includes healthy habits like quitting smoking, a balanced diet, regular exercise and following your treatment, will allow you to feel the full benefits of your therapy, as prescribed by your healthcare practitioner.

  • Eat healthy

  • Stay active

  • Get enough sleep

  • Quit smoking

  • Quit smoking; ask your doctor for help if needed
  • Follow your medical treatment as prescribed, including home oxygen therapy and medications
  • Ask your doctor about getting vaccinated against the flu
  • Keep healthy; eat a balanced diet and drink enough water
  • Follow all safety protocols and store all your oxygen equipment as directed by your Respiratory Therapist
  • Stay Active; meet up with a friend, spend time with your family,  take a walk outside, or do something you love

Living with symptoms

  • Track your symptoms; note what triggers them and makes them go away
  • Make your environment pleasant & keep it clean; ensure your home is smoke-free, ask others for help with larger chores, and remove potential allergens like pets and dust from your surroundings
  • Avoid strong fumes and scents that may trigger coughing 

You can maintain a good quality of life while living with COPD

Oxygen Therapy at your Workplace




If you recently started oxygen therapy and would like to continue working, speak with your doctor or other primary healthcare provider to make sure you are well enough and able. Talk with your employer about making necessary changes to your workspace or schedule to accommodate your needs.

Your employer might:

  • Assign you a parking spot by the door
  • Move your workstation to a more comfortable place
  • Make it safe so you can use oxygen at work
  • Ensure your work environment is smoke-free, clean, ventilated, and unscented
  • Let you use a motorized cart to move about

Oxygen Safety

Home oxygen equipment - when not used as directed - can be a safety risk so it is important to follow these general safety precautions.


  • Use the oxygen only as prescribed by your doctor
  • Have smoke alarms in your house
  • Secure cylinders to prevent them falling over
  • Turn off oxygen equipment when not in use
  • Clean the equipment regularly
  • Place a ‘No Smoking’ sign where you use the oxygen equipment
  • Keep grease, creams, oil products, flammable and combustible materials away from oxygen equipment
  • Use water-based lubricants with oxygen: consult your pharmacist for some safe alternatives
  • Ensure that oxygen equipment is used and stored in well ventilated areas and away from humid or wet environments
  • Keep a fire extinguisher nearby
  • Let your clothing and bedding ventilate for 15 to 30 minutes to become oxygen-free
  • Keep your oxygen tubing tucked under your shirt when cooking


  • Smoke or let others smoke in your home or near your oxygen equipment
  • Use oxygen equipment near electrical equipment that gets hot or can spark. Keep it at least 1.5m, or 5 feet away
  • Use oxygen equipment near matches, candles, gas appliances, open flames or fires. Keep it at least 3m, or 10 feet away
  • Allow others to operate the oxygen equipment without training
  • Tamper with or attempt to repair your oxygen equipment yourself
  • Transport unsecured cylinders in a vehicle
With almost 50 years of providing home oxygen therapy to patients across Canada, we are here for you 24/7 so you can feel your best and get back to living your life

Home Oxygen Support

Help prepare yourself for home oxygen therapy by downloading the VitalAire Emergency Guide and the Home Oxygen Guide which will provide you with all the information you will need to help you get started and feel confident in your oxygen therapy.

Read more about safety here: