Skip to main content

Health Encyclopedia

Search the Health Encyclopedia

Using oxygen at home - what to ask your doctor

Definition

Because of problems with your lungs or heart, you will need to use oxygen in your home.

Below are questions you may want to ask your health care provider to help you use your oxygen.

Alternative Names

Oxygen - what to ask your doctor; What to ask your doctor about home oxygen; Hypoxia - oxygen at home

Questions

When should I use my oxygen?

  • All the time?
  • Only when I am walking?
  • Only when I am short of breath?
  • How about when I am sleeping?

Is it OK for me to change how much oxygen is flowing out of the tank or oxygen concentrator?

What should I do if I feel more short of breath?

Can my oxygen run out? How can I tell if the oxygen is running out?

  • What do I do if the oxygen is not working? Whom should I call for help?
  • Do I need to have a backup oxygen tank at home? How about when I am out?
  • What symptoms tell me that I am not getting enough oxygen?

Will I be able to take my oxygen with me when I go somewhere? How long will the oxygen last when I leave my home?

Do I need to worry about the electricity going off?

  • What should I do if that happens?
  • How do I prepare for an emergency?
  • How can I arrange to be able to get help quickly?
  • What phone numbers do I need to keep handy?

What can I do if my lips, mouth, or nose become dry? Is it safe to use petroleum jelly (Vaseline)?

How do I stay safe when I have oxygen in my home?

  • Do I need smoke detectors? Fire extinguishers?
  • Can anybody smoke in the room where I have oxygen? How about in my house? What should I do in a restaurant or bar?
  • Can my oxygen be in the same room as a fireplace or wood stove?
  • How far does my oxygen need to be away from electrical equipment? How about electric toothbrushes? Electric toys?
  • Where can I store my oxygen? Do I need to worry about how hot or cold it is?

What do I do about getting oxygen when I travel on an airplane?

  • Can I bring my own oxygen or will my airline provide some? Do I need to call them ahead of time?
  • Will my airline provide oxygen for me when I am in the airport? Or only when I am on the airplane?
  • How can I get more oxygen when I am in places other than my home town?

References

American Lung Association. Supplemental oxygen. Updated November 15, 2016. Lung.org web site. www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/copd/diagnosing-and-treating/supplemental-oxygen.html. Accessed February 8, 2017.

American Thoracic Society. Oxygen therapy. Updated April 2016. Thoracic.org web site. www.thoracic.org/patients/patient-resources/resources/oxygen-therapy.pdf. Accessed February 8, 2017.

Review Date:1/15/2017
Reviewed By:Denis Hadjiliadis, MD, MHS, Paul F. Harron Jr. Associate Professor of Medicine, Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997-A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

adam.com

The Agency for Health Care Administration (Agency) and this website do not claim the information on, or referred to by, this site is error free. This site may include links to websites of other government agencies or private groups. Our Agency and this website do not control such sites and are not responsible for their content. Reference to or links to any other group, product, service, or information does not mean our Agency or this website approves of that group, product, service, or information.

Additionally, while health information provided through this website may be a valuable resource for the public, it is not designed to offer medical advice. Talk with your doctor about medical care questions you may have.

We Appreciate Your Feedback!
1. Did you find this information useful?
         Yes
         No
2. Would you recommend this website to family and friends?
         Yes
         No