Oxygen Products

Questions

Answers

I get short of breath sometimes. Can I buy oxygen to keep on hand?

Many people do not realize that the government classifies oxygen as a prescription drug.  You will not be able to buy oxygen unless you have a prescription from your doctor.  I recommend that you talk to your doctor about your condition. Your doctor will decide if oxygen is good treatment for you.

I have a new prescription for oxygen. What is it anyway?

Oxygen is a colorless, tasteless, odorless gas that is required for life.  The air that you breathe contains approximately 21% oxygen.  Your physician has prescribed a higher amount of oxygen than is possible to obtain by breathing room air.

If I am going to be on oxygen therapy, does it mean I will have to stay home attached to oxygen tubing?

In years past, it was difficult for oxygen patients to be active in the community. However, technology has improved for oxygen therapy.  There are many options that give freedom for the patient.  You will not have to stay at home to get oxygen therapy. We now have available portable oxygen concentrators, conserving devices for small oxygen cylinders, and oxygen concentrators that can fill portable cylinders in the home.  Look for an oxygen provider that gives you choices to meet your individual needs.

I keep hearing about oxygen concentrators. What are they?

An oxygen concentrator is a machine that takes room air and converts it over to concentrated oxygen by removing the nitrogen.  Room air has approximately 21% oxygen.  Once the room air passes through the oxygen concentrator, the patient will breathe oxygen at a purity level of 93% to 95%.  The concentrator is about the size of a suitcase. An oxygen concentrator is a good solution for oxygen patients to use while at home.

If I need portable oxygen, will I have to wait for oxygen deliveries? Can I refill my portable unit myself?

Yes, there are oxygen systems that will give you the freedom to refill your own portables. That way, you will not have to wait for deliveries.  We have homefilling oxygen equipment in stock that offer this capability.

I have heard about an oxygen homefilling system. What is it?

The Invacare Homefill and the Respironics UltraFill are compressed gas systems that can refill your own portable oxygen cylinders in your own home.  This means greater freedom for you, since you will not have to wait for oxygen deliveries.

I have seen some small oxygen machines that can be carried. What are those?

You have seen a portable oxygen concentrator.  These devices are smaller units that are battery powered.  The unit has a rechargeable battery that can be recharged by plugging it into the outlet in your car or plugging into a wall electrical outlet. The portable concentrator is the only type of oxygen machine that is approved for air travel.

How do I know if a portable oxygen concentrator is the right choice for me?

The portable concentrator is designed for a patient who uses oxygen at 2 or 3 liters per minute. It is not appropriate for patients with higher liter flows.  The patient must be able to tolerate a conserving device, although a few of the units have a continuous flow option. At Home Health Products, our respiratory staff can assess your lifestyle and prescription, and help you select the portable system that is best for you.  Our respiratory therapist can test you for a conserving device and work with your physician and insurance to get you the best option.

I use oxygen and lately I have noticed that my nose is dry and sore. What can I do?

There are several types of cannulas available, and you may request a different type.  Also, there are various products such as brand names Can-ease and Roezit that are designed to help keep your nose more comfortable.  Be careful not to use any petroleum jelly, or another product that contains petroleum, as this may cause a fire. If you doctor requests, you may add a humidifier to your oxygen system.

My ears get sore from wearing my cannula. How can I get some relief?

We offer a product called Oxy-ears, which is a small foam pad that goes around the ears to cushion and reduce irritation.

Is oxygen a fire danger? Will I be safe?

Oxygen does not burn by itself, but it is one of the three ingredients along with heat and fuel that are necessary for a fire to occur. We always conduct a home assessment when we set up oxygen, and we train how to use it safely.  You do not have to fear oxygen, but you should use it wisely. Never smoke when oxygen is in use, or use your oxygen near an open flame.  Do not use oil or grease on your oxygen equipment. Make sure that you have fire alarms, a fire extinguisher, and a fire exit plan for your home.

Since I have a prescription for oxygen, will my Medicare or my insurance pay for it?

Medicare and private insurance require blood tests that tell how much oxygen you have in your blood.  If a blood gas test is not available, a pulse oximetry test from your physician can be used. Insurance coverage depends on the test results. 

Will Medicare buy my oxygen machine for me?

Since oxygen is a controlled drug, Medicare will not purchase the unit for you.  Instead, Medicare will provide the unit on a rental basis on a 60-month cycle. Medicare will rent the unit for you for 36 months.  Then, you may use the unit for another 24 months with no additional payments given to the equipment supplier. After a total of 60 months, the cycle begins again.

Since oxygen is a controlled drug, Medicare will not purchase the unit for you. Instead, Medicare will provide the unit on a rental basis on a 60-month cycle. Medicare will rent the unit for you for 36 months. Then, you may use the unit for another 24 m

Our respiratory staff will work with you so that you can still travel and enjoy life. If you will call us ahead of time, we will arrange suitable oxygen equipment.  For example, we have an inventory of portable concentrators that we loan out to our oxygen patients at no charge. Portable oxygen concentrators can be used during air travel. We can also arrange for multiple cylinders with a conserving device to be used in the car.  We can arrange for another oxygen supplier to deliver a concentrator at your destination, if you will be staying out of town for an extended time.

How do I know if my machine is working properly?

Our specially trained technicians will come to your home routinely to test your machine and perform preventative maintenance so that it works properly.  If the concentrator alarms or you do not think you are getting the proper amount of oxygen, do not worry.  Our technicians are on call 24 hours per day.  We will come out to your home and bring you an updated machine that is working perfectly.  We are always just a phone call away.