My husband has been on oxygen for several years. He was supposed to use it when he sleeps but has been using it during the day too. Sometimes he has a "spell" when he has more trouble breathing so he turns his machine up to a higher number(usually is 2 but goes up to 3) He doesn't keep it there for long, but I am wondering if taking in the extra oxygen can be harmful for him?
Yes turning up the oxygen from where the doctor or therapist tells him is very dangerous, it should be kept at a constant number unless his doctor says differently. Turning up the oxygen does not help him breathe easing, it just puts more into the lungs that he has to get rid of.
nellies is right, too much O2 isn't good for your husband because he will eventually become more and more dependent on it and it would be tough to wean it down. However, turning from 2 liter to 3 liter when he really needs it is probably not as harmful as leaving him there short of breath. I would recommend purchasing a pulse oximeter to monitor his O2 level.
Also, having too much supplemental O2 without a humidifier can harm the airway as pure oxygen can be quite noxious to the mucosal lining.
It is very bad to up the oxygen without doctors orders. Giving the body a lot more oxygen then it actually requires could cause coma and even death. Watch him close because if he puts it on 3 now when he has problems, then he could very well turn it up much higher if he is having a very bad spell. If he had an 02 meter, most likely he would turn up the oxygen when the meter read low and turn it too high. This information came from my mothers doctor when I asked him about purchasing an 02 meter.
Just want to thank everyone who posted comments to my dilemna. The gentleman who delivers my husbands oxygen supplies also said it could be dangerous for any length of time, but thought it might be ok for a short period. I make sure he doesn't leave it set for the higher level for more than a few minutes.
I've been on oxygen for six years - have been at 4-1/2 liters 24/7 for the last 3 years. My pulmonary function tests show severe emphysema. Walking any distance takes my breath away, as does the slightest amount of exercise such as bending over, pulling up the bedcovers, etc. I use a scooter to get around outdoors. I have a pulse oximeter and it shows my saturation drops to the mid to upper 80s when I walk or bend over, etc. The 4-1/2 liters keeps my resting saturations at about 93-95%, which is where my pulmonologist wants it. Recently she had me do some walking in her office building while she monitored my O2 and when we were finished, she told me to up my oxygen to 5 liters when I'm exerting myself - even to 5-1/2 liters if necessary - when exerting - in order to keep the saturations above 90%. At rest, back down to 4-1/2 liters if that keeps my sats above 90%. Same 4-1/2 liters when sleeping - no change. The best advice is always to ASK your doctor - but get an oximeter of your own and find out what your saturations are really doing, report that to your doctor, and then do what he says. But for Heaven's sake, don't fear to increase your oxygen by a 1/2 liter or so - even a full liter - for a short time if you're exerting yourself and getting short winded. You're not going to overdose on oxygen doing that - only by raising your CONTINUOUS flow rate for an extended period of time.
As a Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor, I even know that too much oxygen can be toxic. Some people give themselves more oxygen to increase the feeling of eurphoia. Too much oxgen can be deadly. Before increasing make sure it it is approved (prescribed) by your Medical Doctor or Respiratory Therapist. This would be the safest way. What works for one may not work for another. Height, weight, health, metabolism, etc., all plays a factor. Check with your Doc or other clinician.
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