An oxygen concentrator can be invaluable for those needing supplemental oxygen. For many people with chronic lung conditions, an oxygen concentrator allows them to breathe easier and live more actively. This guide will provide an overview of oxygen concentrators, which they can help, and what to consider when getting one for yourself or a loved one.
What Is an Oxygen Concentrator?
An oxygen concentrator is an electrical device that extracts oxygen from room air. It filters out other gases, such as nitrogen, leaving an oxygen-enriched product for delivery to the user.
Oxygen concentrators work by using pressure swing adsorption. Air is drawn into one chamber that contains a material called zeolite. The nitrogen in the air attaches to the zeolite while the oxygen passes through to another chamber, where it is pressurized and delivered to the user.
The machines are equipped with sensors to monitor the purity of the oxygen produced. They are designed to deliver oxygen in an ongoing or pulse flow to match the user’s prescription needs.
Who Can Benefit from an Oxygen Concentrator?
Oxygen concentrators can significantly benefit those who have chronic respiratory conditions such as:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Chronic bronchitis
- Pulmonary fibrosis
- Cystic fibrosis
- Severe asthma
- Lung cancers
Patients with these types of illnesses often have low oxygen levels in their blood. This can cause shortness of breath, fatigue, headaches, and other symptoms that make routine activities difficult.
Supplemental oxygen from a concentrator gives the lungs and vital organs oxygen. It makes breathing easier, increases energy, and allows patients to remain active.
What to Look for in an Oxygen Concentrator
If you or a loved one can benefit from an oxygen concentrator, there are several factors to take into consideration when selecting one:
- Most concentrators provide between 0.5 and 5 liters per minute of oxygen flow. Work with your doctor to determine the appropriate flow setting based on your oxygen needs.
Size and Weight
- Concentrators range from smaller portable units to larger stationary models. Make sure to choose one that best fits your lifestyle needs.
- Concentrators have humming or whirring sounds from their motors. Look for units that operate at lower decibels for less noise disruption.
- Some concentrators have features like touch screens, alarms, oxygen purity alerts, and built-in batteries for portable use. Determine if any additional features will be helpful for you.
- Select a unit that comes with at least a 3-year warranty. This protects against defects and repairs.
Using Your Oxygen Concentrator Safely
Once you have an oxygen concentrator set up in your home, it’s essential to use it safely:
- Place the device in a well-ventilated area away from heat sources or combustibles.
- Make sure the cords are out of pathways to prevent tripping hazards.
- Clean and replace filters per the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Do not smoke near the device or use aromatherapy oils, which can be flammable.
- Use only distilled or deionized water to fill the humidifier bottle.
- Only modify oxygen tubing or settings with medical guidance.
Following the safety guidelines will allow you to experience the benefits of supplemental oxygen while minimizing potential risks.
Enjoy Improved Quality of Life
Chronic respiratory illnesses like COPD, pulmonary fibrosis, and emphysema can make even the simplest tasks difficult and leave you short of breath. Something as mundane as getting the mail or grocery shopping can suddenly become daunting, requiring rest periods when your lungs feel deprived of oxygen. An oxygen concentrator like the Philips Respironics Everflo oxygen concentrator can give you back the breath you’ve lost and provide much-needed relief. With improved access to supplemental oxygen from a concentrator, you’ll likely notice reduced symptoms and shortness of breath during daily activities. The additional oxygen can re-energize your body and allow you to be more physically active without the constant fear of running out of steam. Check with your physician to determine if this is the right solution and can dramatically improve your overall quality of life. With a suitable concentrator model that adequately meets your oxygen flow needs, each new day will bring fewer limitations, less fatigue, and more possibilities to enjoy life. You’ll no longer feel so breathless and drained from small tasks. The independence and mobility provided by supplemental oxygen from a concentrator will empower you to breathe easier, remain active longer, and live more fully.