Over the last few years there have been a staggering number of reports of people on home oxygen therapy being admitted to hospital with facial burns, eyebrows and hair burned off, death, smoke inhalation injuries and fire damage to their homes in the thousands of pounds. These occurred because they or a friend/family member were smoking whilst the patient’s oxygen equipment was in use.
However, do not interpret this to mean that oxygen therapy is something to be afraid of, it just needs to be respected.
General Advice when using oxygen equipment:
• If you’re on oxygen, DO NOT smoke.
• If you live with or visit someone on oxygen, DO NOT smoke around them.
• Stay away from open flames, sparks, and gas (including gas stoves).
• Turn the oxygen off while not in use.
• Avoid petroleum-based products.
• Do not use aerosol sprays nearby.
• Comply with all safety instructions provided by your home medical equipment company.
• Keep your oxygen concentrator in a well-ventilated area.
• Never allow the tubing, cannula, or mask to be covered, as it can result in a build-up of concentrated oxygen.
• Keep the name and number of your home medical equipment provider in a prominent spot for reference.
• Post a sign stating ‘DANGER: No Smoking-Oxygen in Use’ for the benefit of engineers or visitors.
There are also health risks associated with smoking while on oxygen therapy. Smoking is the most common cause of many medical conditions associated with the requirement of oxygen therapy. Smoking got you here therefore it is highly recommended that you put as much effort as possible into trying to give up this harmful addiction, or to at least cut down. Smoking more will just continue to damage your lungs and increase the deterioration of your respiratory capability and make you increasingly more dependent upon supplemental oxygen. Using supplemental oxygen can improve your health and improve your medical condition but if you smoke you are hampering the possible medical benefits of the treatment.
There should be a respectful balance between your own lifestyle choices, your medical needs and the safety of yourself and others around you. Be aware of the dangers and make sure you take all possible safety precautions.