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Oxygen Concentrators: Precautions, When You Need It And All You Need To Know

  • timeline Anoush Gomes
  • 2 Min Read
  • Fact Checked

With the second wave now slowly dying down, some individuals suffering from the COVID-19 infection are in need of oxygen concentrators. Understanding how and when to use them, and how they can help can greatly help those that have been advised to be on COVID-19 homecare is important. If you’re set to buy an oxygen concentrator or have a new one, read on to be well versed on its usage and requirements.

How do oxygen concentrators work?

An oxygen concentrator is able to suck in air from the atmosphere, filter out gases and impurities and concentrate the oxygen. This oxygen is blown through a pipe so the patient in need is able to breathe in pure oxygen. It is important to remember that an oxygen concentrator DOES NOT PRODUCE oxygen, it ONLY CONCENTRATES oxygen.

When to use oxygen concentrators in COVID-19?

An individual that has healthy and efficient working lungs is able to filter the oxygen they breathe in. The air that we breathe has 78% Nitrogen and 21% oxygen. Illnesses such as the novel COVID-19 virus that affect the respiratory system affect the lungs resulting in the individual needing to breathe in 99% concentrated oxygen (or medical oxygen). This is where an oxygen concentrator comes in handy.

It is used for patients that are experiencing mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms. It may not help those that are in a severe condition. The oxygen saturation levels of the patient that is being administered oxygen therapy, should be monitored. If the patient’s Sp02 levels are less than 94%, an oxygen concentrator can help and this should be only after consulting a doctor/medical professional. The professional will also tell you how long you need to administer and how much you need, based on your SpO2 levels.

You can track your SpO2 level from the comfort and safety of your own home from the MFine app.

Watch this video by primary care physician Dr. Sreelekha Daruvuri to find out more.


Types of oxygen concentrators

Home oxygen concentrator – Connected through a wall socket
– Provides higher amount of oxygen compared to a portable oxygen concentrator
– A good quality home oxygen concentrator weighs 14-15 kgs
– Available in two variants: production of 5L of oxygen and 10 L of oxygen. A physician will help determine this.
– Needs to be used under medical supervision to help determine the duration and flow of oxygen supply by the concentrator
Portable oxygen concentrator – Does not require a wall socket connection
– Chargeable like smartphones
– Reduced amount of oxygen provided compared to home oxygen concentrator

When using an oxygen concentrator:

  • Do not use the concentrator, or any oxygen product, near an open flame or while smoking.
  • Place the concentrator in an open space to reduce chances of device failure from overheating.
  • Do not block any vents on the concentrator since it may impact device performance.
  • Periodically check your device for any alarms to make sure you are getting enough oxygen.

Do not self-medicate with oxygen therapy. Too much oxygen can damage the lungs. The usage of oxygen concentrators should be done under the medical advice and supervision of physicians to avoid further complications. Make sure to clean the oxygen concentrator regularly and do not forget to change the water to avoid the build up of fungi and fungi causing illnesses.

If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, consult with a physician online  before deciding on going to the hospital or homecare. Not all COVID-19 patients require hospitalization.

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