by Diana Kohnle
Home oxygen is a tool to improve oxygen levels in the body. It may ease symptoms and improve health of the organs such as brain and kidneys.
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Some injuries or illness make it hard for oxygen to pass from your lungs to the blood. This means your body tissue does not get the oxygen it needs to work well. This will make you tire easily and cause shortness of breath. Low oxygen can also be harmful to busy organs like the brain.
Oxygen therapy increase the amount of oxygen in your lungs. This will increase the amount that makes it into your blood. Some common reasons that people need home oxygen therapy include:
It may only be needed for a short time while you heal. Others may need permanent oxygen support.
Home oxygen therapy is safe. There is an increased risk of fire around oxygen, but basic steps will help avoid this:
A prescription for oxygen will be needed. The prescription will include:
Home oxygen therapy is most often given with a nasal cannula. A cannula is a tube that is put just under your nose. Two prongs will deliver oxygen up into your nose. A face mask may be needed to improve oxygen delivery. The mask covers your mouth and nose.
Home oxygen may be delivered through 1 of 3 systems:
Oxygen therapy will be based on your needs. It may only be needed during activity or 24 hours a day.
Home oxygen therapy is painless. It can dry out the nose, which may lead to bloody noses.
Call your doctor if any of these occur:
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
American Lung Association
Children's Health Network
The Lung Association
Oxygen therapy. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute website. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/oxygen-therapy. Accessed September 25, 2020.
Patient education: Teaching the patient about safe use of home oxygen equipment. EBSCO Nursing Reference Center website. Available at: https://www.ebscohost.com/nursing/products/nursing-reference-center. Accessed September 25, 2020.
Oxygen therapy. American Thoracic Society website. Available at: https://www.thoracic.org/patients/patient-resources/resources/oxygen-therapy.pdf. Accessed September 25, 2020.
Supplemental oxygen. American Lung Association website. Available at:
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Accessed September 25, 2020.
Last reviewed September 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board
Last Updated: 9/25/2020