Smoking and oxygen therapy: what you should know!
When your doctor has written you an oxygen therapy prescription, you have without a doubt been told that smoking during the oxygen therapy is not a good idea. But why exactly is smoking close to supplementary oxygen extremely dangerous?
First of all, the air we breathe normally contains about 21% of oxygen. However, oxygen concentrators produce oxygen concentrated between 96% and 100%. Even though oxygen itself is not flammable, high concentrated oxygen creates an environment in which fire ignites rapidly and easily. Even a small spark could be enough to ignite the fire when oxygen is in use, which makes smoking near supplementary oxygen critical.
After the supplementary oxygen has been switched off, it doesn’t mean there’s no more danger. The oxygen level on the hair, skin and clothes of the oxygen user is still quite high. That’s why also after the oxygen therapy, you should be very careful with smoking because there’s an increased risk of for example burns on the face.
Besides smoking being extremely dangerous near supplementary oxygen, it is also likely to worsen the medical condition that necessitates oxygen. COPD causes that more and more alveoli are being damaged, the same thing which happens with smoking. The alveoli in your body are extremely important: they get oxygen into the blood stream for transport to the tissues, and to remove carbon dioxide from the blood stream.
By educating yourself on the possible dangers of mixing smoking with oxygen therapy, you can help reduce the accidents caused by doing this. Safe handling of supplementary oxygen is of vital importance!