Definition of "oxygen therapy."
It is the administration of oxygen at a higher concentration than what is found in the environment.
It can be given via cannula, mask, catheter, etc.
Oxygen must be ordered by a physician and administered exactly as prescribed.
Signs and symptoms of lack of oxygen (hypoxemia).
Fast heart rate.
Rise in pulse and blood pressure.
Shortness of breath.
Restlessness and anxiousness.
Change in mental status (confusion, lethargy, agitation, etc.).
Drop in heart rate and blood pressure as condition progresses.
Cyansis (late sign).
Dangers of excess oxygen levels.
Excess oxygen can be fatal in persons with chronic lung conditions, because a chronic low level of oxygen is what stimulates their breathing.
Long term exposure to oxygen levels higher than 50% can cause permanent lung damage and other adverse reactions.
Need for skin care.
Nostrils, earlobes, and bridge of nose may be padded with gauze to prevent skin breakdown.
If nostrils become irritated, apply a soluble gel like KY gel. Never apply petroleum-based lubricant because it is a fire hazard.
Humidity must always be given with oxygen to prevent drying of the airways.
Safety tips necessary for oxygen therapy.
Place no-smoking signs to warn of the dangers of smoking.
Keep oxygen away from open flames, heat, gas stoves, hot pipes, radiators, etc.
Equip home with a fire extinguisher and a smoke alarm.
Avoid use of electrical equipment such as electric beds, heating pads, or electric razors.
Avoid using flammable products such as body lotion, face creams, rubbing alcohol, etc.
Avoid using aerosol sprays.
Possible adverse reactions to oxygen.
Respiratory depression (symptoms are decreased rate of depth of respirations, change in level of consciousness).
Collapsed lung (symptoms are substernal pain, cough, headache, increased shortness of breath).
Irritation of airway mucosa (symptoms are sore throat, cough, nasal congestion).
Oxygen toxicity (symptoms are burning feeling in lungs, uncontrollable coughing, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, headache, restlessness, progressive respiratory difficulty).
Local skin irritation.