Many senior citizens are prescribed oxygen for use at home because of conditions that cause difficulty breathing. This is referred to as oxygen therapy. It is usually prescribed when patients exhibit symptoms like coughing, wheezing, rapid breathing, and changes in skin color that indicate oxygen levels are low. Some of the conditions for which oxygen therapy is prescribed include COPD, heart failure, sleep apnea, pneumonia, and asthma. While oxygen therapy is beneficial to those who need it, it can also be dangerous if the oxygen is not handled safely. Oxygen poses a serious fire hazard because it fuels fire and causes it to burn faster and hotter than normal. Not only does the patient need to be knowledgeable about how to use oxygen safely, but those who are responsible for the care of the patient, such as family members and home care providers, should also be knowledgeable. Below are some tips for using home oxygen therapy safely.
Stay Away from Open Flames
There should be absolutely no smoking in a home where oxygen is in use. This is especially true of the person who is using oxygen. Candles are also unsafe. In a restaurant, be sure the person using oxygen is at least six feet away from tables with lit candles. Oxygen should be kept away from woodstoves, space heaters, lit fireplaces, and any other sources of open flames.
Be Careful Around Electrical Equipment
Electrical equipment can release sparks that could start a fire where oxygen is in use. Never use an extension cord to plug in an oxygen concentrator. It is unsafe to use an electric razor while oxygen is in use. Also avoid using electric toothbrushes and electric blankets. Toys with electric motors should be kept at least six feet away from oxygen.
Stay Safe in the Kitchen
When the stove or oven are in use, oxygen should be kept away. Remember that hot grease can also cause a fire when coupled with oxygen.
Keep Oxygen Tanks Secured
If your parent is using oxygen tanks, it’s important to make certain they are always safely secured and will not tip over. Not only will this make the tanks last longer, it can also prevent anyone from being injured by a tank that turns into a missile when oxygen gas is accidentally released. Also, be careful not to trip over tubing and tip the tank. Oxygen tanks should be stored in an upright position out of direct sunlight.
If your parent has been prescribed home oxygen therapy, take time to go over safety procedures with them as well as with those who provide home care to them. It is also a good idea to post signs at the entrances to the house to warn people who visit that oxygen is in use. Ask your parent’s home care provider to remind visitors of safety precautions should they notice any unsafe behavior.
If you or a family member are in need of home care in Pembroke Pines FL, call the caring professionals at Star Multi Care today at (954) 870-4770. Providing service in Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Weston, Southwest Ranches, Pembroke Pines, Cooper City, Lighthouse Point, and Wilton Manors.
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