We often get asked about safety concerns with using supplemental oxygen. Using supplemental oxygen does have some risk associated with it. However, following some common sense tips will decrease those risks and ease any concerns. Oxygen itself is not flammable; however, the presence of oxygen causes fire or even a spark to burn more quickly and fiercely. Some common sense tips are listed below.
Stand at least 8 to 10 feet away from any flame or spark. This includes gas stoves, fireplaces and candles. Electric razors can cause sparks and you should not use oxygen was shaving with an electric razor.
Do not allow smoking anywhere near you.
When cooking, do not wear loose fitting clothes and stay as far away from the heated surface as possible.
Avoid using aerosol products that can ignite in the presence of a spark or fire.
Do not place your oxygen concentrator in an non-ventilated area such as a closet. The process of making oxygen results in heat. Also, since the concentrator is using the air in the room to purify oxygen, it can quickly deplete the oxygen in a small space.
Secure all cylinders in such a way that they cannot fall.
Oxygen hoses can become a tripping hazard. Try to place your concentrator in a position where it affords you the most mobility, but in such a way that a hose will not cause you or others to trip.
Keep your hose clean and replace it on a regular basis or when they begin to start getting hard. You should also make sure the filters for your concentrator are replaced at regular intervals. Regularly wipe down the concentrator with a soft damp rag. If you use water in the humidifier, the canister and tubing should be cleaned daily so that mold does not form.
Supplemental oxygen when used correctly can be safe and life sustaining. Studies indicate that people with COPD who need oxygen and use the oxygen actually experience greater life expectancy than those who do not utilize it.