When to Use Oxygen Concentrator in COVID?
Due to the ongoing surge of infections of new novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) variants, hospitals cannot accommodate the alarming increase in the number of patients presenting mild or moderate symptoms indicative of COVID-19 infection.
Within the convenience and safety of our homes, you can acquire a steady supply of oxygen with an oxygen concentrator.
However, you must know when to use oxygen concentrators for COVID treatment or management.
But First, What Is An Oxygen Concentrator?
Patients with breathing-related conditions can benefit from using an oxygen concentrator, a medical device that delivers oxygen. When a person's blood oxygen level drops below the usual range, an oxygen concentrator may be needed to compensate for the lost oxygen.
Both short and long-term oxygen treatments are often delivered to patients at home using oxygen concentrators as stationary and portable sources.
An oxygen concentrator is a device that gathers oxygen and nitrogen from the ambient air and filters it before delivering it to the patient through a nasal cannula or a mask. It is possible to get up to 95% pure oxygen from an oxygen concentrator. Because they are equipped with in-built oxygen sensors, it is easy to notice whether the concentrator's purity level drops.
Read more about how oxygen concentrators work in our comprehensive guide.
Oxygen Concentrator for COVID
The amount of oxygen in the blood is measured using a small device known as a pulse oximeter or pulse ox. These medical devices are often worn on the index fingertip. It employs beams of light to assess the level of oxygen in the bloodstream.
According to a World Health Organization training manual on pulse oximetry, if the patient's oxygen saturation is 94 percent or lower, they should be treated immediately. It is considered a clinical emergency if the saturation is less than 90%.
This medical equipment is also beneficial in the following situations:
Mild to Moderate COVID-19 cases
Oxygen concentrators are recommended only in mild to moderate cases of COVID-19 when the patient's oxygen levels drop. The highest oxygen requirement is 5 liters per minute.
Post-COVID Infection Recovery
In order to support their lungs and hearts, it is possible that some people will continue to require supplemental oxygen after returning home after being hospitalized due to COVID-19. The amount (flow rate), the number of hours each day, and the equipment you have will all be customized to your unique needs and specifications.
Pre-Hospitalization Oxygen Support
It is important to track your symptoms or how you feel. If your symptoms become severe, you must seek urgent medical attention. Patients suffering from severe illness, whose saturation has dropped to 85 percent or lower, can utilize oxygen concentrators until they can be transported to a hospital.
Alternative Oxygen Therapy
If compressed or liquid oxygen is too difficult or dangerous to use, then they can be used in their place. Examples of these are home visits, mobile clinics, and when there is an emergency
4 Benefits of Oxygen Concentrators for COVID Patients
Oxygen concentrators have many benefits. Among these are:
Wide-ranging Design Options for Greater Independence
Modern oxygen concentrators are designed to be lightweight, quiet, and energy-efficient. It eliminates the need to rely on your oxygen tank and replenish your supply. You can pick between electrical pumps or battery-powered concentrators to generate a constant supply of oxygen. It allows you to pick the product features that best suit your needs.
Freedom & Accessibility
Most moderate cases don't require the use of a ventilator and can be treated with oxygen concentrator-assisted breathing therapy. This medical device can help you get oxygen support and therapy from the safety and comfort of your own home. It's easy to use and doesn't take up much space.
One of the best characteristics about oxygen concentrators is that they are easy to move around, so they can be used in different parts of the hospital or at home. Several portable medical support concentrators are available, with a maximum oxygen flow rate ranging between 5 and 10 L/min. Aside from its portability, it is cost-effective, simple to use, and extremely advantageous in emergency circumstances.
Improved Quality of Life
Ordinary tasks become difficult and impossible for persons who are out of breath. People with respiratory problems, like Covid-19 patients, may be confined to their homes or beds, unable to enjoy life. This device reopened some doors, allowing oxygen therapy patients to move around without gasping for breath. It improves quality of life by increasing mobility and functional capabilities.
Can Oxygen Concentrators Be Used By All Types of COVID Patients?
No, not all types of COVID patients can use oxygen concentrators. Patients whose blood oxygen levels fall below 93 percent can begin arranging for oxygen concentrators for themselves and can initiate therapy at home.
However, if the oxygen saturation levels are above 94, it is unnecessary to take high oxygen levels to maintain or stabilize your saturation.
For patients with significant co-morbidities and problems, oxygen concentrators are not the greatest solution since they only supply 5-10 liters of oxygen per minute, which may not be adequate for patients suffering from severe Covid-19 complications.
Can Patients Use Oxygen Concentrators At Home?
Yes, patients can definitely use oxygen concentrators at home! Home Oxygen Therapy is beneficial for various medical conditions requiring optimal oxygen concentrations.
Aside from COVID-19, these include asthma, chronic bronchitis, congestive heart failure, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), cystic fibrosis, emphysema, lung cancer, pneumonia, pulmonary fibrosis, and sleep apnea.
Oxygen concentrators are medical devices that can only be purchased and used with a prescription. You should not use an oxygen concentrator at home unless a health care physician has prescribed it.
Do You Need a Doctor's Prescription to Use an Oxygen Concentrator For COVID?
Yes, you need a doctor's prescription to use an oxygen concentrator for COVID-19. The FDA advises against using an oxygen concentrator at home unless your doctor prescribes it. You may wind up with an excess or a deficiency of oxygen.
Without a prescription, using an oxygen concentrator can result in major health complications, such as oxygen poisoning caused by receiving too much oxygen. Additionally, it may result in a delay in treatment for dangerous illnesses such as COVID-19.
Patients with moderate pneumonia caused by COVID-19 who have an oxygen saturation of less than 94 can benefit from supplemental oxygen delivered by an oxygen concentrator, but only until they are admitted to a hospital for further evaluation.
6 Factors to Consider When Choosing the Right Oxygen Concentrator
Oxygen concentrators have various characteristics and benefits that can make them more or less suitable for each patient. You’ve detailed some of the most crucial factors to think about, guiding you through the process so you can find the best concentrator for your needs.
If you're in the market for an oxygen concentrator, its flow rate capabilities should be at the top of your list. The amount of time it takes for a patient to receive an adequate oxygen supply is known as the "flow rate." Consult your doctor about the best flow rate for your specific situation before purchasing an oxygen concentrator.
There are many types of oxygen concentrators, and some have lower flow rates (in the range of 250 to 750 mL/min), while others have greater flow rates (in the range of 1,000 to 2,000 mL/min) (such as the 2 to 10 L/min range).
The quantity and design of the filtration systems included in your oxygen concentrator and the performance of the concentrator's nitrogen-removing sieve system all impact the degree of oxygen concentration you can achieve with the device.
While most oxygen concentrators have oxygen concentration levels ranging from 87 to 99 percent, it is crucial to remember that the value might vary amongst different oxygen concentrators.
Another important factor to consider is how mobile and transportable you would like your concentrator. We can find oxygen concentrators in a variety of sizes and portability options.
Because they are designed to work harder and offer higher flow rates, high-powered units tend to be bulkier and heavier than their less powerful counterparts. When it comes to in-home use, they're a great option.
Portable oxygen concentrators, which typically weigh between 5 and 10 pounds, are an excellent choice for people who do not require high oxygen delivery rates.
The amount of energy consumed by the oxygen concentrator varies significantly. While it is preferable to get a concentrator with the lowest power usage possible, your doctor may recommend purchasing one with a little more power. Some models may also be powered by consumer batteries, which is beneficial in the event of a power outage.
Because oxygen concentrators are available in various configurations, layouts, and power levels, the amount of noise they make while in operation can vary significantly.
The warranty policy varies from one manufacturer to the next. You should study the warranty policy before purchasing these products, as they are built to last for a lengthy period.
Do's When Using Oxygen Concentrators For COVID
Using an oxygen concentrator to breathe supplemental oxygen is intended to be a safe and life-sustaining activity. However, like with any other piece of equipment, it is important to remember how to operate it properly for your safety and convenience. You must keep the following guidelines in mind.
1. Understand your Concentrators Set-up and Maintenance Requirements
Inquire with your home oxygen supplier about the necessary maintenance of the concentrator when your concentrator is installed or configured. A periodic filter change is required, for example, in concentrators that have a filter.
2. Maintain Hygiene and Sanitation
If you use a humidifier with your oxygen concentrator, clean it regularly. It's possible for bacteria to develop on humidifier accessories. Take it out of the fridge once a week. It must be cleaned and disinfected before use. Also, inquire about changing your oxygen source's main tube and cannula.
3. Practice Fire Safety
You must strictly follow the following oxygen safety tips:
- Never smoke, and don't allow others to light up in your vicinity.
- Maintain a safe distance from open flames, such as burning tobacco, lighters, and matches.
- Cleansing fluid, paint thinner, and aerosol sprays that are combustible should not be used.
- Keep a safe distance of 5 feet between yourself and heat sources. Candles, gas stoves, lighted fireplaces, and electric or gas heaters are prohibited.
4. Ensure Appropriate Oxygen Flow
Make sure to rinse the prongs of your nasal cannula with water before using it. If you notice bubbles, this indicates that oxygen is entering the system.
Thoroughly inspect the following pressure gauge or the indicator for the amount of liquid in the container and the tubing for kinks, clogs, and water accumulation.
Don’ts When Using Oxygen Concentrators For COVID
Here are some safety tips to ensure you’re using your oxygen concentrators correctly and safely for COVID-19.
1. Do not use without a prescription
You need to have a doctor’s prescription before using oxygen concentrators, so you’ll know what flow rate is best for your condition. Using it at a rate that’s lower or higher than what you need can lead to health problems.
2. Do not change your oxygen flow rate
Your doctor establishes flow rates at the appropriate level. Higher flow rates are rarely beneficial and can raise the danger of toxic carbon dioxide buildup in the bloodstream, which is harmful.
3. Do not let oxygen containers get hot
Always use and store your concentrator in locations with moderate temperatures to prevent it from becoming damaged. Avoid allowing it to become too cold, and always avoid becoming too warm.
The device should be kept away from direct sunlight to prevent the machine's temperature from rising while you're out and about. Finally, but certainly not least, never leave your portable oxygen concentrator in a hot vehicle! Excess heat can cause interior machinery to malfunction.
4. Don’t let your oxygen concentrator get wet
Keep your oxygen concentrators away from water sources to ensure the safety of your machinery and electronics. Consider purchasing a long cannula to keep the portable O2 concentrator out of the tub or shower.
While taking a shower or bath, use the bathroom fan to remove excess moisture and steam from the space. Your concentrator may become damaged if the surrounding air is excessively humid.
5. Do not use damaged cords
If the oxygen concentrator's cord appears to be damaged, do not use it. Do not plug it in with an extension cord or connect it to an outlet already occupied by other appliances.
FAQS About Oxygen Concentrators For COVID
How Long Do You Need to Use An Oxygen Concentrator?
Oxygen concentrators are designed to run continuously. They can, however, overheat and cease suddenly. After 7-8 hours of continuous use, the concentrator should be rested for 20-30 minutes.
Are Oxygen Concentrators Safe?
Yes, oxygen concentrators are safe to use as long as you follow your doctor’s prescription. Without a doctor's instruction, using a concentrator can lead to serious health issues like low oxygen levels or excessive oxygen exposure. It may potentially delay therapy for COVID-19.
If you intake too much extra oxygen, oxygen poisoning can occur and damage the lungs. It can cause coughing and trouble breathing. In severe cases, it can even cause death.
Can Oxygen Concentrators Heal COVID?
No. Oxygen concentrators cannot heal COVID. But patients diagnosed with moderate COVID-19-induced pneumonia with oxygen saturation below 94 can benefit from supplementary oxygen through an oxygen concentrator, but only until hospital admission.
Where to Buy the Best Oxygen Concentrators for COVID
Oxygen concentrators have the potential to save lives and are invaluable for their ease and effectiveness in delivering oxygen to patients who are unable to obtain enough on their own. These machines filter, treat and compress the ambient air in any environment before delivering solely oxygenated air to individuals in need.
The decision between different types of oxygen concentrators is a matter of personal preference in terms of the concentrator's purpose, size and weight, mobility and portability, price, and safety. It is helpful to understand how these medical devices operate, as well as their advantages and disadvantages.
Once you've decided to buy oxygen concentrators, the next step is to identify a trusted and reputable supplier.With every purchase, we also include a free workshop. To learn more about our products and services, call us at (800) 314-8225.