What Is an Oxygen Concentrator?
Oxygen concentrators help to fill the gap if your body is unable to get enough oxygen to function normally on its own. These devices can provide patients with a variety of medical conditions—including asthma, lung cancer, COPD, the flu, and COVID-19—with enough extra oxygen to breathe normally. They are typically prescribed for long-term use for patients who experience chronic breathing problems.
Oxygen concentrators come in two main types: larger, non-portable models that are intended for at-home use and smaller and lighter portable versions that can easily be taken wherever you go. Although patients who only need extra oxygen at night may only need an at-home model, also obtaining a portable oxygen concentrator can be helpful for patients that periodically need supplemental oxygen when exerting themselves.
How Do Oxygen Concentrators Work?
POCs and at-home oxygen concentrators work by filtering the nitrogen out of the air around you to make it easier to breathe. It then carries a higher concentration of this purified air directly to your nostrils to make it easier for you to get an adequate amount of oxygen with each breath. Oxygen concentrators typically use tubes, known as cannulas, to accomplish this task by directing air into your nostrils, and some models are also equipped with a face mask to keep a higher concentration of air near your nose and mouth for patients that need even more assistance with only breathing in oxygen-enriched air and avoiding high concentrations of nitrogen and other contaminants.
How Do I Use a Portable Oxygen Concentrator?
Your portable oxygen concentrator and at-home oxygen concentrator function similarly. To use both types of oxygen concentrators, you will need to begin by adjusting the oxygen flow to match the amount of oxygen that is prescribed by your doctor. You will also need to make sure your oxygen concentrator is on the proper setting, as the machines can provide continuous oxygen flow and/or pulses of oxygen each time you take a breath.
Things to Remember When Using a Portable Oxygen Concentrator
Using your portable oxygen concentrator correctly is a must when it comes to getting the most benefits out of it. Here are some tips to keep in mind when using your portable oxygen concentrator!
Use the Correct Amount of Oxygen
Too much oxygen can be just as harmful as too little oxygen under certain circumstances, and your doctor will let you know exactly how much oxygen you should use at a time to ensure that your specific needs are met. You will be able to adjust the specific amount of oxygen that flows from your oxygen concentrator, which is measured in liters per minute, and making sure this flow is adjusted properly is a must in order to make sure that your supplemental oxygen does its job without creating additional problems.
Keep a Spare Battery With You
Like any electronic device, your POC’s battery can run out when you least expect it to, which can be hazardous if you rely on having constant access to supplemental oxygen. Be sure to carry a fully charged backup battery with you to ensure that your portable oxygen concentrator is always ready to use when you need it.
Follow the instructions for use regarding properly maintaining your POC.