You suffer from chronic respiratory failure: your body needs oxygen, which explains the fatigue, shortness of breath at the slightest exertion, and the loss of energy you are experiencing. To compensate for this lack of oxygen, your doctor has prescribed a drug for you: medical oxygen.
Returning to activity (walking, etc.) is beneficial for health and quality of life . Walking oxygen therapy during exercise improves your comfort and soothes your heart. By respecting the oxygen flow and duration of treatment prescribed by your doctor, as well as practicing a lifestyle that adopts hygiene and diet measures (such as quitting smoking, balanced diet, complying with medical treatment), you will be able to:
- Better tolerate your daily efforts: showering, climbing stairs, going for a walk, etc.
- Resume certain daily activities: shopping, visiting loved ones, etc.
- Getting around inside and outside the house, taking transport, traveling.
Your oxygen prescription
It must be observed to get the benefit of your treatment.
- It is determined by your doctor based on your blood gas (blood oxygen measurement) results.
- It is tailored to your needs to ensure processing efficiency and safety.
- It should not be changed without your doctor's consent.
- If you are on long-term oxygen therapy, your stress flow may be different from your rest flow.
- Your doctor has prescribed a period of daily oxygen therapy.
- Walking oxygen therapy is covered by health insurance, for a regular walk in or out of your home for more than an hour a day.
- If you are receiving long-term oxygen therapy, the total duration should not be less than 15 hours/day, ideally longer than 18 hours/day.
Your liquid oxygen equipment
- The fixed reserve contains medical oxygen in the liquid state at very low temperature (-183 °C) and provides oxygen in the heated gaseous state.
- The portable tank has autonomy for several hours and gives you the opportunity to carry out activities of daily living at home or away from home.
- Adjust the exercise oxygen flow to the value prescribed by your physician.
- Connection method: nasal glasses.
Oxygen therapy at home by VitalAire
Using Oxygen Safely
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
For further information consult your oxygen equipment’s user guide or speak to your VitalAire healthcare team.
Plan for a power outage
Your home oxygen concentrator is powered by electricity, so it is critical in cases of power outages or natural disasters that you are set up with a backup oxygen tank or a portable concentrator, and that you are comfortable using it. If you live in a remote area, you may want to consider installing a generator at home.
Use this checklist to help you prepare:
- Tell your power provider that you rely on electricity to supply your oxygen equipment
- Check your emergency backup cylinder weekly
- Have flashlight with spare batteries in a handy place
- Don't use candles for light
- Keep a mobile phone charged and handy
- Have a contact list for family, friends, carers, doctors, emergency services and VitalAire
- Review your plan twice a year and keep it handy
VitalAire has prepared a simple emergency plan form you can download here:
Oxygen accelerates the combustion of any flammable material. There are some usual precautions to ensure your safety. Refer to the instructions provided by your service provider during installation.
- Always keep the tank or portable concentrator in an upright position;
- Do not grease or lubricate the tank or portable concentrator;
- Never place the tank or portable concentrator near a source of heat, steam or even on carpet;
- Do not carry the tank or portable concentrator over shoulder clothing. Avoid synthetic fiber clothing;
- Never smoke while using the tank or portable concentrator.
- Regularly drain the condensed water stored in the tank. Place the plastic tank close to the device;
- Regularly check the liquid oxygen level of the fixed reserve (if the level is less than 20%, if the oxygen is not scheduled to be supplied within 24 hours, notify the supplier or service provider immediately;
- Clean the lids every day (use soapy water and then rinse);
- If you received a humidifier with your device, clean it once a week (soapy water, then rinse). Change the humidifier water daily. Use lime-free water.
- The use of the portable tank or concentrator in public transport is legally authorized. For use in private transport, we recommend that you contact the company;
- The portable tank or concentrator must always be transported in a vertical position;
- The portable tank or concentrator can be transported in the car, as long as it is in a vertical position and securely fastened.
Consult your doctor in cases of:
- Worsening difficulty in breathing.
- Increased shortness of breath at bedtime.
- Bronchial congestion (cough, sputum).
- Increase or appearance of cyanosis (bluish discoloration of the lips and ends of the hands).
- Edema (swelling) of the legs.
- Notify the airline at least 20 days in advance;
- Before the date of the trip, test the chosen equipment simulating all the activities that will be carried out during the tour;
- Carry enough extra battery for 1 flight and a half (less than 5 hours trips) and 3 hours more than the flight for longer trips.
- Bring a universal plug adapter;
- Carry a finger or pulse oximeter with you for easy oximetry monitoring.