Oxygen concentrators are medical devices used to deliver supplemental oxygen therapy to those suffering from respiratory diseases.

They are commonly used at home and offer several benefits, including improved quality of life, convenience, and cost-effectiveness.

When using an oxygen concentrator, it is important to follow the manufacturer's safety precautions to ensure the device operates properly and prevents any potential hazards.

It is essential to familiarize yourself with the safety guidelines provided by the manufacturer to keep yourself and others safe. This blog is all about the safety precautions to be kept in mind while using oxygen concentrators.

Safety Precautions When Using Portable Oxygen Concentrators

A) Avoid smoking or lighting candles.

1. Smoking and lighting candles around a portable oxygen concentrator should be avoided at all times. The oxygen produced by the concentrator is highly combustible and could lead to an explosion or fire if ignited.

2. The same goes for candles, matches, lighters, and anything else that can create a spark. Keep these items away from your oxygen concentrator, and keep a fire extinguisher close by in case of an emergency.

3. Use extra caution around gas stoves or other equipment that produces a flame, such as a barbecue grill. Turn off the appliance before turning on the oxygen concentrator, and make sure there are no open flames present before using it.

4. If you notice any odd smells coming from the concentrator or any smoke, shut off the machine immediately and contact your healthcare provider. This could indicate a problem with the device that needs to be addressed.

5. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the proper use of your oxygen concentrator to ensure your safety and reduce the risk of a potential fire or explosion.

B) Prevent water damage

1. Always keep your oxygen concentrator away from any source of water, such as fountains, swimming pools, sinks, and so on.

2. Do not allow any kind of moisture to enter the concentrator while it is in use or being transported.

3. Before cleaning the concentrator, unplug it from the power source.

4. Use a soft, dry cloth or paper towel to wipe down the exterior of the machine. Do not use any kind of liquid cleaner on the concentrator.

5. If there is an accident where liquid has entered the concentrator, immediately take it to a service centre for evaluation.

6. Make sure that the breathing apparatus and masks are free from any form of water damage, and replace them if needed.

7. After you have finished using your concentrator, store it in a safe, dry place away from any sources of moisture.

C) Check the oxygen tubing.

1. Check the oxygen tubing regularly for any signs of damage or wear and tear. Look for any cracks, tears, or pinholes that can affect the flow of oxygen.

2. Make sure the tubing is tightly secured on both ends—at the oxygen concentrator and to the mask or cannula.

3. Inspect the air pressure in the tubing and make sure it is within the specified range given by the manufacturer.

4. Use only a clean and sterile tube with each use. If the tubing is not clean, it can become contaminated and lead to infection.

5. Replace the tubing if it has become weak or brittle, if there are any signs of cracking, or if it does not fit securely onto the mask or cannula.

6. If you use multiple portable oxygen concentrators, check that the tubing is compatible with each device.

D) Keep a backup battery on hand

1. It is important to keep a backup battery for your portable oxygen concentrator. This will help ensure that you always have a reliable source of oxygen, even if your power supply runs out.

2. Make sure to check the expiration date on the battery and replace it if necessary. You should also check the voltage and capacity to ensure that your backup battery is compatible with your machine.

3. To get the most out of your backup battery, charge it regularly and store it in a cool, dry place. This will help maintain its longevity and performance.

4. When travelling with your portable oxygen concentrator, make sure to bring the backup battery with you. That way, you can be sure that you will always have enough power to keep your machine running in case of an emergency.

E) Clean oxygen tubing

To ensure your oxygen concentrator operates correctly and your oxygen therapy is safe and effective, it is important to regularly clean your oxygen tubing.

1. Begin by disconnecting the tubing from the concentrator. Then, fill a basin with warm, soapy water and submerge the tubing for about 10 minutes.

2. Gently move the tube around in the water for a few seconds to loosen any blockages or dirt particles.

3. After 10 minutes, take out the tubing and rinse it with clean water. Make sure all traces of soap are washed away.

4. If necessary, use a soft-bristled brush to remove any dirt or debris that may be stuck inside the tubing.

5. Finally, hang up the tubing to dry before connecting it back to the oxygen concentrator.

6. It is important to clean your tubing every week or two to prevent the buildup of bacteria or mould. This will help ensure your oxygen therapy remains safe and effective.

F) Avoid using aerosol products

1. It is important not to use any aerosol products when using a portable oxygen concentrator. These aerosols can contain chemicals and other particles that reduce the effectiveness of the device.

2. Avoiding the use of these products can also help to ensure the safety of those around you.

3. The use of aerosol sprays, such as hairspray, insecticides, and air fresheners, should be completely avoided when using a portable oxygen concentrator.

4. Even if you are in a well-ventilated area, these aerosol products can still interfere with the efficiency of your device and reduce the amount of oxygen delivered.

5. If you must use an aerosol product, it is best to do so at least 20 feet away from the device, or in a completely different room, to avoid any interference.

6. Always remember to read the instructions on the product label before using any aerosols near a portable oxygen concentrator.

7. Taking these precautions will help to ensure your safety and the effectiveness of your device.

G) Use petroleum-free self-care products.

1. When using your oxygen concentrator, it is essential to use self-care products that are petroleum-free. Petroleum products can cause clogs in the tubing, block the flow of oxygen, and even damage the machine.

2. Choose products made specifically for use with oxygen concentrators. These products should be free of oils, fragrances, and other additives that could damage the equipment or affect your breathing.

3. Look for products that are free of petroleum jelly, mineral oil, lanolin, and petroleum distillates. Many manufacturers make oxygen-concentrator-friendly products such as lotions, skin creams, and lubricants.

4. Make sure to read the ingredient list before purchasing any product. If you're not sure if a product is safe to use with your oxygen concentrator, contact the manufacturer for clarification.

5. It is also important to keep your hands clean and free from oil when using an oxygen concentrator.

Travelling with Your Portable Oxygen Concentrator

When travelling with your portable oxygen concentrator, make sure to check your oxygen tubing for kinks or any damage before leaving. Additionally, try to avoid any contact with water and ensure that you do not smoke or light candles near the device. It is also important to have a backup battery in case of any power outages while on the go.

Guidelines for travelling

1. Always keep your portable oxygen concentrator with you when travelling. Do not check it in with your luggage.

2. Make sure to always bring a backup battery with you in case of an emergency.

3. Have your physician provide you with an oxygen letter stating your needs and how much oxygen you need while travelling.

4. If possible, always fly with the same airline and in the same type of aircraft so you are familiar with the oxygen requirements and other policies.

5. Check the airline’s policies on travelling with a portable oxygen concentrator before booking your ticket.

6. Provide the airline with a doctor's note indicating the amount of oxygen you will require during your flight.

7. Make sure your oxygen tubing is free of kinks or obstructions, and always carry extra tubing with you in case of any problems.

8. Make sure your portable oxygen concentrator is tested for safety and performance before you leave.

9. Make sure you have plenty of extra batteries to make it through your journey safely and comfortably.

10. Be sure to tell your flight attendants that you are using a portable oxygen concentrator as soon as you board the plane.

Overview of the TSA regulations

1) Portable oxygen concentrators (POCs) can be taken on planes and other forms of public transportation.

2) It is important to contact the airlines to check the latest regulations and obtain approval to bring your POC with you

3) Most airlines allow passengers to bring their own personal items, but they may have to be stored in the cargo hold depending on their size and weight.

4) All POCs must meet the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA's) safety requirements for aircraft use.

5) Passengers are also required to provide documentation from their physician certifying their need for a POC.

6) POCs must be inspected by security personnel at the checkpoint, as well as any accessories and spare batteries.

7) Passengers should also be aware that the TSA may require additional screening of the POC, including a hands-on examination and an X-ray.

Tips for safely transporting 

1. Make sure the oxygen concentrator is stored in an upright position.

2. Secure the concentrator properly to prevent any possible movement.

3. Cover the concentrator with a breathable material like a blanket or towel.

4. Ensure that the concentrator is secured on a stable surface, such as a seat or the floor.

5. Ensure that the device is not exposed to extreme temperatures.

6. Avoid direct sunlight or other heat sources.

7. Do not move the oxygen concentrator while it is in use.

8. Ensure that the concentrator is powered off before transporting.

9. Always wear appropriate safety gear, including gloves and a face mask, when handling the device.

10. If possible, have someone help you lift and move the concentrator.

The use of a portable oxygen concentrator has been a great advancement in the medical field. It is important to follow all safety precautions when using an oxygen concentrator to ensure the safety and well-being of both users and caregivers.

When it comes to oxygen concentrator safety, understanding how the device works, knowing how to properly transport the device, and following any specific instructions provided by the manufacturer is essential.

Additionally, FAQs about oxygen concentrators can be found on the internet or from your healthcare provider for more information.

Author's Bio: 

Robbins is a successful entrepreneur and chairman of six companies. He has been honored by Accenture as one of the “Top 50 Business Intellectuals in the World” and by American Express as one of the top six business leaders in the world to coach their entrepreneurial clients. A much sought-after speaker, he has addressed such distinguished audiences as the British Parliament and Harvard Business School.