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COPD: Safe Oxygen Tips

If you use oxygen to help manage the symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), be sure to handle it with care. It’s essential to follow these safety tips:

  • Don’t smoke while using oxygen, and don’t let anyone smoke near you.

  • Put up no smoking signs in your home where you most often use the oxygen.

  • Stay at least 5 feet away from any open flame, such as a gas stove, candle, or cigarette lighter.

  • Don’t use oil-based products such as creams and lotions that contain petroleum.

  • If you take your portable oxygen unit to a restaurant, sit in the nonsmoking section.

  • Store canisters upright in an approved cart or secure storage device in a well-ventilated location. Keep them at least 8 feet away from a water heater or other appliance that gives off heat or sparks.

  • When not using your oxygen, be sure to turn off the supply valve.

Call your health care provider if you have any of these symptoms: anxiety, blue lips or fingernails, difficulty breathing, headaches, drowsiness, confusion, or restlessness. It's also wise to call your doctor if you feel ill.