A home oxygen concentrator is a medical device that is especially designed to draw in room air and concentrate it into purified oxygen and deliver it to those who require it within a home setting. Doctors recommend these devices for individuals who have low oxygen levels in their blood because of certain health conditions.
How a Home Oxygen Concentrator Works
The device works by taking in and compressing the surrounding air. The nitrogen is then removed from the compressed air and purified oxygen is delivered through a nasal cannula. Because the concentrator uses room air, the air supply will never run out. All it needs to deliver a continuous supply of oxygen is access to a power source, which could be either an electrical unit or a battery.
Although the exact features differ from one brand to another, all devices will have these basic features:
- A power button or switch that turns the device on and off
- A flow adjustment meter that allows you to adjust how fast the oxygen is delivered through the breathing device
- An alarm that alerts you if the device is not receiving power for any reason
Most of the newer models also have a humidifier bottle that warms the oxygen and mixes it with water before you breathe it in. This helps to prevent your nose, mouth and throat from feeling dry and parched, which was a common complaint with earlier models.
Operating & Maintaining Your Home Oxygen Concentrator
The first thing you need to do is to establish your flow rate and set the flow rate meter accordingly.
Check the humidifier regularly. If the water level is too low it needs to be refilled with distilled water. Usually this needs to be done on average at least one a day.
The alarm also needs to be tested regularly. This can be done by pushing the power switch. If the buzzer does not sound it means there is a fault somewhere. You will need to call oxygen provider to identify and resolve the issue.
Making sure the air inlet filter is clean before every use is important. If the filter looks dirty, remove it and wash it in warm soapy water. Rinse under clean running water, squeeze out the excess water and pat it dry before installing it back in the concentrator.
Safety Precautions When Using A Home Oxygen Concentrator
Although oxygen is a safe, non-inflammable gas by itself, it supports combustion, which means materials that are already burning will burn faster in an environment that is oxygen rich.
Knowing and observing the safety precautions regarding home oxygen use will help prevent any accidents in the home.
Keep the oxygen equipment in a well-ventilated area and at a distance of at least 3 meters from any open heat flame source such as a gas stove or candles.
Avoid using or keeping anything flammable in the near proximity of the oxygen equipment. This includes any type of aerosol cans or sprays such as hairsprays and air fresheners, cleaning fluids or petrol.
Do not smoke or allow anyone to smoke in the vicinity of device.
When used in accordance to the instructions and keeping in mind all safety precautions, a home oxygen concentrator can be a huge boon to anyone suffering from low oxygen levels in their blood.