Getting Adjusted to Using Oxygen for the First Time
Oxygen- It's as simple as inhaling and exhaling? Well for people with respiratory disease, not so much.
Oxygen is life, and without a sufficient amount to support life, it could be deadly. People with certain respiratory diseases that restrict airflow struggle everyday just to breathe. Not to mention the other stresses lack of oxygen places on one’s daily life.
That is why LPT Medical is dedicated to getting oxygen to the people who need it most. If you are looking to buy a supplemental oxygen device your first step is finishing reading this blog to learn about using oxygen as a first time oxygen user. The second step is getting in touch with an experienced oxygen specialist by calling 1+(800)-946-1201.
If you are going to be wearing oxygen for the first time, you’ll likely remember the first day that you get your oxygen and supplies. It is normal to feel confused and overwhelmed.
Also, you’ll probably have a lot of questions. Even if you know about oxygen from spending time in hospitals or nursing homes you'll quickly realize there is a lot more to home oxygen therapy than what meets the eye.
The best thing you can do for yourself throughout your oxygen journey and your disease management process, is to continue learning more! Read on to learn more about what the oxygen experience can be like! You’ll also notice that oxygen affects everyone’s life differently, and there is no one right answer.
The more time you spend with your device, the more you will learn about what works for you and your lifestyle.
Your Oxygen Device Options Overview
We often write about the oxygen choice you have as an oxygen patient. You can find that information in these blogs listed below:
In these blogs, you will read about portable oxygen concentrators (POCs) and oxygen tanks.
The option between POCs and other oxygen devices will ultimately be determined by your oxygen intake. Your supplemental oxygen intake will be determined through a few respiratory tests that your doctor will conduct.
Once you have a flow rate prescribed by your doctor, you will either be able to get a POC, or if your oxygen flow rate is too high, you’ll need an oxygen tank.
If your flow rate is within the range where a POC will manage your oxygen levels, it is important to subsequently consider your lifestyle and travel plans. A POC will make your life objectively easier than if you opted for an oxygen tank.
There are several reasons POCs are a better option for many oxygen users. Firstly, they are battery powered. The Arya Portable Oxygen Concentrator battery can last for up to 16 hours! When you charge the device you simply plug it to a AC or DC power unit, and continue using it, as you would a cell phone.
The other big one, you can travel on airplanes with your POC! There is a lot you need to know about traveling with oxygen. You'll find that information in a few sections! For now, we will continue talking about the oxygen device options you have.
POCs are also notably small in stature and light-weight. Therefore, it is easy to go from place to place! The Caire Freestyle Comfort portable oxygen concentrator only weighs 5 pounds.
Confidence Going Out in Public with Oxygen
Spending time out of the house for the first time with you oxygen device and tubing can be intimidating. It can also be hard to deal with your loved ones and old friends seeing you with an oxygen device for the first time.
The best thing to remember in these situations, is that the oxygen is helping you become healthier. With the help of oxygen therapy you can get back some of your independence. In a way, you are helping them help you!
Independence is a great thing oxygen can give you back if you’ve lost that due to your condition. Oxygen therapy will eventually help you maintain more natural energy levels, and your ability to do things for yourself again!
You can also remember that, although the exact number is unknown, there are an estimated 1.5 million supplemental oxygen users in the U.S. So you are certainly not alone!
You can join Facebook groups or online forums to discuss with other oxygen patients about their experiences. This can ease the battle of feeling isolated.
Another helpful piece of advice is that you are using oxygen caused by a respiratory disease, and the oxygen is enabling you to do more. You wouldn’t be ashamed to wear glasses to help you see, or a hearing aid to help you hear, or if you have to wear a brace to help you walk. So don't be ashamed of your oxygen device that helps you breathe.
Sleeping with Oxygen
You might be questioning if you can sleep with a portable oxygen concentrator. You can, but it will be up to you and your doctor whether or not you need to. There are several notable benefits for using oxygen at night.
Sleeping with oxygen concentrator offers:
- A significant improvement in sleep
- A mood boost, by reducing anxiety and depression caused by insomnia
- More stamina, energy, and alertness during the day, as a result of a healthy sleep
- A significant decrease in the risk of developing health problems triggered by low oxygen levels
Now, even though wearing oxygen to bed has its benefits, it is not as simple as it sounds. You will have an adjustment period where you will need to learn how to wear oxygen while sleeping.
The biggest thing you do to make sure your oxygen device is working for you at night, is to breathe through your nose. Easier said than done! Most people breathe through their mouth, especially during sleep.
You should start by talking to your doctor about using an oxygen mask at night. It is typical that if you are using more than 6 liters per minute (lpm) or more of supplemental oxygen you can wear a closed oxygen mask at night or during the day to improve your breathing.
The use of an oxygen mask requires a prescription from your doctor. You could also try wearing a vent or OxyMask when using between 1 to 15 lpm — but again it is very important to check with you doctor first.
Here are some tips to help you adjust to wearing oxygen while you sleep:
- Make a goal of getting 30 minutes of exercise during the day.
Yes, exercising during the day will not only improve sleep quality but also sleep duration at night. As few as ten minutes of aerobic exercise, such as walking, cycling or taking a tai chi class, can dramatically improve your sleep quality. This works best when you are exercising on a regular basis.
- Avoid carbonated beverages late at night.
So the caffeine level in carbonated drinks is an issue for your sleep, carbonation is not helpful either. Carbonated beverages can produce gas that pushes on the diaphragm, making breathing more difficult. For that reason, it’s a good idea for people with respiratory disease and oxygen users to avoid carbonated beverages before bed.
- Establish a bedtime routine.
One of the best ways to get better sleep is to go to bed and wake up around the same time every day. Routine is key! When your body has a sleep cycle to rely on, it is the most natural way to achieve healthy sleep, even if you are sleeping with an oxygen concentrator during the night.
- Designate your sleeping spot.
Another big aspect of routine is doing similar or exactly the same thing every night before falling asleep. There are several helpful activities that can become routine before bedtime. Also it’s important that you designate your bed – and bedroom – for sleep. So avoid doing other things during the day in your bedroom such as watching TV or reading.
- Practice airway clearing techniques for airway clearance before bed.
Clearing your airways of mucus is something you can practice throughout the day to help you sleep better at night. These techniques can help you more naturally maintain oxygen levels throughout the day and night.
Traveling with Oxygen
Traveling is one of the most challenging obstacles to overcome when you first begin on oxygen.
Just getting in the car is hard, but getting on an airplane is actually impossible if you are using a gas or liquid tank.
You will need a portable oxygen concentrator that is FAA approved. These device can be found at LPTMedical.com or call 1+(800)-946-1201.
First of all, the Air Carrier Access Act does not require airlines to provide medical oxygen to any eligible respiratory patients during flights, so do not expect to be given oxygen on your flight. Very rarely will airlines provide supplemental medical oxygen on flights for their passengers, and if they do this oxygen service typically costs a fee.
There are some things you need to know and tasks you must accomplish before you travel by air with your POC. First of all, be aware that the FAA and the airline you are flying on may have different requirements and you must follow both the FAA and the airline’s regulations.
- The FAA regulations do not require that you tell your air carrier about your POC in advance, however almost every airline will have you notify them that you will be flying with oxygen at least 48 hours before your flight.
- If you are flying on Southwest and JetBlue, these airlines also also ask you to check in for your flight at least one hour before takeoff if you are traveling with oxygen.
- There are some instances when your airline will require a physician's statement
- There are some airlines that will require you to demonstrate how you respond to your POC's alarms before you board the aircraft.
Your best option is to get ahold of the airline you are flying with to learn about the regulations they are held to when it comes to passengers with oxygen concentrators on board.
We hope that this blog gives you some insight into what life is like with supplemental oxygen therapy.
As a first time oxygen user, education is key! Read up on your options, reach out to your doctor and health care team to learn more and more.
If you buy a POC from LPT Medical, you will work with the most experienced and helpful oxygen specialists who are always around to answer questions about your oxygen device.