Oxygen therapy is a vital treatment for patients with respiratory ailments and lung diseases. However, there are several misconceptions regarding oxygen therapy of which all patients and caregivers should be aware of.
Misconception 1: I can no longer do the things I enjoyed most because I need oxygen.
Oxygen therapy doesn’t need to stop you from doing the things that make you happy. In fact, oxygen therapy allows patients who suffer from respiratory ailments to be active again increasing their quality of life and allowing them to do things they couldn’t do without supplemental oxygen. A portable oxygen concentrator (POC) gives you the most freedom and allows patients to enjoy many activities such as hiking and gardening.
Misconception 2: Oxygen is addictive.
Oxygen is fundamental for life; without it, you wouldn’t be able to carry on with your daily activities. So being concerned about developing an oxygen addiction and reducing oxygen use because of it is the biggest misconception that exists. The body requires oxygen same as it requires water and food. Oxygen is not a narcotic and therefore using it will not create a need to get more. Oxygen therapy allows your body to heal, stay healthy, and survive.
Misconception 3: Portable oxygen concentrators are big, bulky, and heavy.
Although some oxygen concentrators are heavy, they are all designed to be portable and easy to move. For those patients with heavier concentrators, traveling carts are available to ease transportation. However, many patients choose a POC, which are lighter and easier to carry; the AirSep Focus is the world’s smallest and lightest POC weighing only about 1.75 pounds. There are also several units available that weigh below 10 pounds: just to mention one, the Inogen One G3, weighing only about 4.8 pounds, can be easily carried with one hand or over the shoulder in a small carrying case. Even the continuous flow portable oxygen concentrators are getting smaller in size. The Respironics SimplyGo weighs 10 pounds and the brand new SeQual eQuinox weighs 14.4 pounds.
Misconception 4: Smoking near my oxygen concentrator is okay
This is probably one of the most dangerous misconceptions about supplemental oxygen. Although oxygen concentrators do not pose the threat of blowing up like oxygen tanks or liquid oxygen, oxygen is still flammable and it can cause serious burns on the face and body if it catches fire. People should NEVER smoke close to patients using oxygen or when they themselves are using oxygen.
Misconception 5: I can buy a brand new portable oxygen concentrator online for $300
POCs are lifesaving health care devices and really don’t come cheap. “Portable oxygen concentrators” can be found on ebay for hundreds of dollars, but most times they are usually glorified air purifier. If you are planning on purchasing a legitimate POC, you should do thorough research on the unit and model before you buy. The best way to know if a POC is legitimate is to enquire if it is FAA and FDA approved. You should also be aware that eBay and Amazon are against the sale of devices requiring a prescription.