Whichever online search engines you use to ask your questions concerning oxygen, oxygen equipment, daily activities while using oxygen or concerns about those who use oxygen, I’m dedicating this page to those questions. If you have any questions that are not listed below, please post them in the comment section and I will do my best to answer them. Below are some questions & subjects that I’ve been asked about:
Q. Does a bipap machine indicate end of life?
A. No. To me, a bipap machine is just another way to improve the quality of life that we all deserve. I certainly hope no one has ever been told that having to use a bipap machine is an “End of Life” step. Something that indicates “end of life” would be that someone is dead. We are not dead. We are adapting to the way our body can function to stay alive by participating in life and if that means we must use a bipap machine, then so be it.
Q. How much O2 can you use with a home Bipap?
A. The amount of oxygen to be used, if necessary, should always be determined by your doctor, usually a Pulmonologist who orders a sleep study to determine this amount.
Q. Can I drive while using oxygen?
A. Well, I can drive while using oxygen. My oxygen needs to be strapped securely. If you drive, when you park, be sure not to leave your backup tank in your vehicle for more time than absolutely necessary. The heat within your vehicle will rise and that will begin to build up pressure within your oxygen backup tank. If you have a liquid oxygen reservoir like I do, the tank should be equipped with a pressure relief valve which will cause the tank to hiss when there is excess pressure. If your backup oxygen supply is an e-cylinder (a tall, skinny tank that’s under pressure), you should always keep that covered to keep the sunlight from the tank. There are now battery-powered portable oxygen concentrators that are perfect for those who use oxygen at a lower liter flow (3LPM). Check here: http://www.inogenone.com/ Above all else, safety first. If you don’t think you should drive, if you are tired or do not feel well, have someone else drive you.
Q. Do you have breathing problems after you eat?
A. In my personal experience with eating (and everyone can have different experiences), I tend to have 2 problems. The first problem is that eating makes me tired. When I say “tired,” I mean that after I eat a meal, I feel like I need to take a nap because I usually feel ‘sluggish.’ In fact, when my husband, K, and I are out doing errands and I start to get hungry, we both know that there is a fine line between getting me fed before my crankiness kicks in and wanting to get the errands finished because we know eating will pretty much end the afternoon. I simply run out of steam. The Second problem that I have with eating is that I’m very sensitive to things such as black pepper, the smell of cooking celery – oregano – anything spicy like jalapenos. Eating these things or smelling them causes my throat to feel inflamed which makes it hard for me to breathe. In a restaurant, I have to order things without black pepper (such as how they cook steak), bell peppers, and I always have to ask the waiter if the thing I want is going to be spicy. I know what I can’t eat and I try to stay away from them but if there is a time when I accidentally eat too much of pepper or whatever that has me reaching for my throat, I use my inhaler and drink lots of water. Check out this blog post I did to see the picture of how I enjoy the beach with my oxygen.
Q. How to keep portable oxygen tank dry while at the beach?
A. This is a great question and here’s what I’ve done. It’s not an easy task when you are carrying your portable while wading in the ocean but I don’t go in deep waters. (I have a water phobia) I also do NOT go in alone. My husband always carry my portable oxygen when I want to walk with him in the water. However there is another way to protect your portable tank when set up on the beach with a beach chair and portable oxygen tank. First, put your oxygen portable in large plastic bag, such as a trash bag. Do NOT seal it closed tight. (I DO NOT RECOMMEND DOING THIS WITH A PORTABLE OXYGEN CONCENTRATOR.) It still needs ventilation. Next pick a spot on the beach away from the ocean tide to set up your beach chair. Remember the tide will come in eventually if you are going out during the evening. Tie the bag to the beach chair securely, using stakes on the chair if necessary. This is to help keep the tank from falling over if you get overly excited about being in the water and pull your canula tubing too hard. Then place a beach towel over the tank to provide shade, even if you have a beach umbrella. You should us a 50ft oxygen tubing with your portable so that you go into the ocean with minimal problem. You can even try burrying the tubing in the sand to keep people from tripping over the tubing if you want but I always keep an eye on it. Most people on the beach seeing me and my oxygen are super nice about the tubing on the beach. The key is to be friendly to others so they will be friendly to you and your needs. If you want to see a picture of how I set up my oxygen at the beach, go to this post. Remember to drink plenty of water to keep yourself from dehydrating. | If you have a portable oxygen concentrator that runs on battery, try securing it on a beach chair so it won’t fall off or over and lightly cover the top with a beach towel so that it is out of the sun if you aren’t using a beach umbrella. Use a long oxygen tubing to reach from the chair to the water.
Q. Sinus problems while using the Bipap. What can I do?
A. This is a problem that I absolute hate when I try to lie down to rest or go to bed for the night. It’s like the instant I’m lying flat, my nose gets all stopped up. How is a person to breathe through the bipap mask with a stuffed up nose? What I do, is to add an extra pillow (stack 2 pillows) under my head until my sinuses clear. It usually takes a good 10 – 15 minutes. If that doesn’t work, I will roll over to the side while using 2 pillow under my head and one pillow propped behind my back so I can lean against it. If any of this doesn’t work, there is another option. One I have yet to try. So, if you try it, let me know how it works for you. The Breathe Right Nasal Strips really look promising! No pills or prescriptions.. just old fashion ingenuity! Update: The Breathe Right Strips work really well for me! Even the generic ones too!
Q. Can I wear any kind of makeup while using oxygen?
A. I have never had any trouble wearing makeup. You should be able to glamorize your beautiful self with makeup of any kind. The only thing that I do is I make sure to wash off my makeup prior to resting or sleeping with my bipap mask on. I don’t want makeup to make my mask dirty or contaminated. But wearing makeup while wearing an oxygen canula tubing on your face is fine.
Q. Is 5 liters/min of oxygen a lot?
A. I use 6 L/min of oxygen 24/7 and that’s what was prescribed for me based on my medical needs. So, for me, no it’s not a lot, but what I need to keep my level of quality of life optimal. There are other people with other diseases which may require more or even less. Everyone’s needs may be different. Though, in a general sense, 5 L/min is quite a bit of oxygen. But don’t let that get you down because if that’s what is prescribed for you by a doctor and it makes you able to function without shortness of breath, then, that’s what you need. Remember, quality of life should be yours and your doctor’s main goal.
Q. Can I go on a hot air balloon ride while wearing 5 liters of oxygen?
A. This is an event that I hadn’t even thought of doing before. I thought of riding in a helicopter in Las Vegas though. To ride in a hot air balloon sounds very exciting and to answer your question, there are few things you need to check out. First, having oxygen within proximity of an open flame is very dangerous. Do some research and ask questions. You must determine whether or not the company who provides the ride allows oxygen using passengers. Remember, you must also be strong enough to withstand a hard landing within the basket of the balloon. If you find a company who allows oxygen onboard, you need to make sure you have plenty of oxygen for the ride. From what I discovered, most companies say the whole event can last anywhere from 3 to 4 hours, start (airing up the balloon) to finish (landing). You should also talk with your doctor about taking this ride. You could go pretty high (500-3000 ft) in the sky which means the altitude could cause problems for your ability to breathe. If you do find company who allows oxygen users and your doctor permits your hot air balloon adventure, make sure you the company is accident free. Do some research. It would be a risky adventure that I personally would not do.
Q. Having problems getting my oxygen tanks refilled.
A. Nothing frustrates me more when I hear this. If you are having problems with getting your oxygen refilled, you should get on the phone and call the DME (durable medical equipment) company who supplies your oxygen needs. Ask them why there is a problem with getting your oxygen refilled. Do your best to be as nice a possible. If they give you a problem, inform them you will be calling your doctor and your insurance company. You should do just that. Remember though, every year, the DME needs you to be re-certified by the prescribing doctor (usually your Pulmonologist) on the continuing need for oxygen. If you continue to have serious problems such as the DME company not refilling your oxygen in a timely matter, giving you a hard time with an attitude, inform your insurance company and ask if you could switch DME companies that they have a contract with.
Q. Oxygen refill in Las Vegas?
A. I’ve been to Las Vegas and needed a liquid oxygen refill. There is actually a Lincare (who I use as my DME company) who is located about a mile or two from the Vegas strip. Lincare is a national company. I love them because all I have to do when I go on vacation is notify them 2 weeks in advance with my itinerary and where I think I will need oxygen refills, and they handle everything for me. I actually will go to them for the refill early in the morning (about 8am) with my tanks in my vehicle to make it easier on the company. However if you plan to be at one place on vacation, they can arrange a set up at that place. With Lincare, it gets billed to my insurance just as if I were at home. If you don’t have Lincare as your DME company, contact your DME company to see how they can help you.
Q. Can you use acrylic nails while on oxygen?
A. Yes you can. I get my nails done. I get Solar Nails which are acrylic. One warning though. Make sure the salon is well ventilated. If you can smell the chemicals when you walk in the door, try another place.
Q. Mom too proud to wear oxygen.
A. I hear this a lot. I didn’t have a choice about wearing my oxygen but I sure didn’t like having to wear it when I first had to start using oxygen 24/7. Are you wondering why she feels this way? Perhaps it’s because she feels like she is losing her sense of independence. Maybe it’s because her oxygen setup isn’t the best for her needs. Is she stuck on those E-cylinders that are too heavy? There are many other oxygen equipment options now; even lighter portable types of oxygen tanks for when she leaves the house. If she needs to wear it, then encourage her to wear it without harping (not that you harp!). Remind her that it will make her life so much more easier and enjoyable.
Q. Smoking while using oxygen.
A. Really, really, really not good. Not only is this a dangerous thing to do, it’s also not helping the person using the oxygen get better. STOP SMOKING! If you smoke and you are not the one using oxygen but live or visit with someone who does use oxygen, DO NOT SMOKE AROUND THE OXYGEN USER. If the oxygen user comes to your house, do not smoke around them. GO OUTSIDE! People who have breathing problems are very, very sensitive to cigarette smoke. This may be an inconvenience to you but think of the oxygen user because cigarette smoke can cause all sorts of breathing problems for them.
Q. Why does my liquid oxygen tank hiss?
A. Usually the liquid oxygen tanks hiss because they’ve either just been refilled by your DME company, the pressure inside the tank has gotten too high and the built-in pressure release valve will relieve some of the excess pressure. The hissing should stop within a short time. If it doesn’t, call your DME company to let them know so they can come check it out. It could be a possible leak.
Q. What lotion is not recommended for oxygen users?
A. Based on the recommendations of the COPD Foundation, it is not recommended to use a lotion that is petroleum-based. Instead, you should use water-based products. Just look at the ingredients on the bottle to know. Petroleum based products tend to lead to accidental fires if caution is not used. Do not use these products near an open flame or sparks from a fire.
Q. Fire, fireplace, grills and oxygen users. And what about gas stoves?
A. First and foremost, Oxygen feeds fire. Oxygen will make a nice fire become a potentially bad moment and big dangerous problem. Use EXTREME caution when oxygen is in use around any type of flame including a gas stove. All oxygen, including the person who is using the oxygen, should remain at least 5 feet away from any fire. My personal belief for Liquid oxygen tanks is that they should be as far away from any flame as possible (15 feet or farther). Again, on WebMD, the COPD Foundation has some really excellent information including notifying the fire department and the utility companies to inform them of your oxygen use and request a “priority service listing.”