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Oxygen safety

Oxygen makes things burn much faster. Think of what happens when you blow into a fire -- it makes the flame bigger. If you are using oxygen in your home , you must take extra care to stay safe.

Have Your Home Ready

Make sure that you have working smoke detectors. Make sure you have a working fire extinguisher in your home. If you move around the house with your oxygen, you may need more than one fire extinguisher.

Smoking can be very dangerous.

  • No one should smoke in a room where you or your child is using oxygen.
  • Put a NO SMOKING sign in every room where oxygen is being used.
  • In a restaurant, keep at least 6 feet away from any source of fire, such as a stove or fireplace.

Keep oxygen 6 feet away from:

  • Toys with electric motors
  • Electric baseboard or space heaters
  • Wood stoves or fireplaces
  • Electric blankets
  • Hairdryers, electric razors, and electric toothbrushes

Be Careful in the Kitchen

You will need to be careful with your oxygen when you cook.

  • Keep oxygen away from the stovetop and oven.
  • Watch out for splattering grease. It can catch fire.
  • Keep children with oxygen away from the stovetop and oven.
  • Cooking with a microwave is okay.

Other Safety Tips

Do not store your oxygen in a trunk, box, or small closet. Storing your oxygen under the bed is okay if air can move freely under the bed.

Keep liquids that may catch fire away from your oxygen. This includes cleaning products that contain oil, grease, alcohol, or other liquids that can burn.

Do not use Vaseline or other petroleum-based creams and lotions on your face or upper part of your body unless you talk to your respiratory therapist or doctor first.

  • Aloe vera is okay to use.
  • Other water-based products, such as K-Y Jelly, are okay to use.

Avoid tripping over oxygen tubing.

  • Children may get tangled in the tubing.
  • Taping the tubing to the back of your shirt may help.

Updated: 5/29/2012

David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Denis Hadjiliadis, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.


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