Most of us seldom give much thought to oxygen. It’s an invisible, harmless gas that is all around us, ready to take in with our next breath. Even though it surrounds us in the air we breathe, concentrated oxygen delivered to those with health conditions can be dangerous, for two main reasons:
- Oxygen can potentiate fires. Oxygen is itself not “flammable,” but it causes other things to catch fire at lower temperatures and burn hotter and faster.
- Oxygen is considered a medication and it is possible to overdose.
Because of these two major dangers, special oxygen safety measures need to be followed closely. At Nightingale Homecare, we provide senior care Phoenix AZ families trust, and we assist those using prescribed home oxygen in staying safe by educating on and adhering to the following safety considerations:
- Do not smoke around oxygen and keep away from open flame (candles, gas stoves).
- Place “No Smoking” signs throughout your house.
- Do not use appliances that could produce sparks while wearing oxygen (electric razors and hair dryers).
- Do not cook while wearing oxygen.
- Store cylinders on an appropriate stand and secured to the wall, or on their side on the floor to prevent tipping. If they fall over and the valve comes loose, they can become a dangerous missile.
- Store cylinders at room temperature, away from heat or direct sunlight.
- Keep oils/petroleum products such as Vaseline away from oxygen.
- Use cotton bed sheets and clothing to prevent static electricity and sparks.
- Keep your oxygen equipment at least ten feet away from open flames and heat sources.
- Keep at least 5 feet away from electric stoves or heaters.
- Keep the service number for your oxygen equipment nearby, in case something breaks.
- Do not store oxygen in an enclosed area, such as a car or closet. When traveling in a car with oxygen, always have a window slightly opened.
- Do not store oxygen cylinders in the trunk of a car.
- Do not cover oxygen tubing with bedding, carpet or furniture.
- Do not allow children or untrained individuals to handle or operate oxygen equipment.
- Make sure your smoke detectors are tested regularly.
- Have a fire escape plan.
- Do not leave oxygen on while not in use.
- Do not use oxygen without a doctor’s order.
- Don’t change your dose, except when prescribed by a doctor, since using too much or too little can cause serious health problems.
- Regularly clean and maintain your equipment as instructed by the supplying company.
For more oxygen safety tips, or to arrange for a free in-home assessment to learn more about how our professional home health care team can enhance overall safety, comfort, and wellbeing for your senior loved one, call on Nightingale Homecare. As the top providers of senior care Phoenix AZ families rely on for expert, compassionate assistance, we’re available to help with a wide variety of needs. Contact us at (602) 504-1555 to learn more.