Oxygen

graphic showing oxygen being used

Home oxygen

If your body cannot get enough oxygen from the air you might be prescribed home oxygen.

Home oxygen can help with symptoms such as:

Feeling tired

Breathlessness

Memory problems

Graphic showing nasal canula used with oxygen cylinder

Home oxygen therapy involves breathing in air that has more oxygen than normal.  This can be done through a mask over your nose and mouth or through short tubes placed in your nostrils – these are called a nasal cannula.

There are 3 types of devices that can be used to give you oxygen:

An oxygen concentrator – this is recommended if you need to have oxygen for most of the day (including when you are asleep).

Large oxygen cylinders – this is often prescribed if you only need oxygen for a short time, for example when you are breathless.

Portable oxygen cylinders – these can be used outside of the home. Each cylinder weighs about 2kg and is small enough to fit into a backpack or shopping trolly. This size of cylinder holds just under 2 hours supply of oxygen.

Living with oxygen

It is possible to travel and go away from home while you use oxygen.

You should speak to your GP or respiratory team if you are planning a holiday, especially if you are thinking about travelling abroad.

They will check that you are well enough to travel and advise you about what you need to do to stay safe while you are away.  

Oxygen safety

When used correctly, oxygen is safe, but it is important to be aware of how to keep yourself safe.

Do

  • Install fire alarms and smoke detectors in your home and check regularly that these are working
  • Tell your local fire brigade that you have oxygen at home, they will contact you to complete a ‘safe and well’ visit
  • Keep your device at least 3 meters away from any appliances that use an open flame, such as a gas cooker or gas fire
  • Keep your device at least 1.5 meters away from other electrical appliances, such as a television, hair dryer or electrical heater
  • Turn your device off when you are not using it
  • Keep your equipment clean and dry it properly before using it

Don’t

  • Smoke, or let anyone smoke near you, when using your device – also smoking will make your oxygen therapy far less effective
  • Use e-cigarettes or be close to someone using an-e-cigarette when using your oxygen
  • Use flammable liquids, such as cleaning fluid, paint thinner or aerosols when using your device
  • Use oil-based emollients containing petroleum your skin or lips such as Vaseline, when using your device

Other information

Video Guides – Baywater

Home oxygen therapy – NHS (www.nhs.uk)