As a medical equipment supplier in the UAE, the safety and maintenance of our portable oxygen concentrators are of great concern because we store them in bulk and have to be ready to be transported in times of need.
Here we’ll share with you some guidelines for avoiding any hazards resulting from improper care.
Note: One of the side-effects of COVID-19 are low levels of oxygen in the blood, because of which these oxygen concentrators are in high demand!
But first, let’s briefly go through how oxygen concentrators work so you have a better sense of why these guidelines matter.
How do oxygen concentrators work?
Atmospheric air is sucked into an air compressor, which applies high pressure to the air causing it to heat up. Molecules in heated air are excited making it easier to separate the oxygen molecules. This air is passed through cylinders that contain zeolites, which are crystals with holes that are tiny enough so only oxygen molecules pass through them.
Pure oxygen is then stored in a tank that has an outlet fixed with a pressure regulator that helps control the flow of pure oxygen. The cannula is a tube that has to be connected to the outlet through which pure oxygen reaches the mask worn by the patient.
They are powered by electricity, either using an adapter or a set of batteries.
Related Article– Tips To Buy Oxygen Concentrator
Here are few to maintain oxygen concentrator safely:
1. Conduct routine technical checkups
Normally your medical equipment supplier should take care of that as part of their maintenance services.
In case they do not provide such a service or if they don’t do it regularly enough, you must train yourself or someone else to do it with the help of learnable resources like the user manual or online tutorials.
User manuals that come with oxygen concentrators provide simple guidelines on doing technical checkups regularly – depending on the type and brand of your oxygen concentrator these guidelines may differ, but technical checkups usually entail the following:
- Sanitize the concentrator itself with a mild cleaning solution.
- Clean or replace the cabinet air filter.
- Unclog the air inlet and outlet.
- Test whether the right concentrations are generated with an oxygen analyzer.
- Make sure the power-loss alarm functions well.
Stay on top of the maintenance of your equipment and they’ll serve you well!
2. Store them in a safe environment
Store them in a dry and cool environment, moisture tends to mess up with the functioning of an oxygen concentrator and that goes double if it gets wet.
Keep them away from heat sources, flammables like aerosols, and open flames because if they come in contact with concentrated oxygen, it can cause an explosion.
Battery-powered concentrators are generally safer, otherwise you need to unplug them when not in use. In case of an electrical surge, the equipment may cease to function permanently.
3. Follow the proper etiquette of use
You need to sterilize oxygen concentrators before and after use, especially the cannula, to avoid infectious diseases from propagating. The cannula must be connected well and the mask should be strapped on securely so there are no seepages.
There is a prescribed rate of flow in liters per minute that is required by a patient, double check and adjust the flow meter before use.
Understand that oxygen concentrators function using the air in the room so allow for fresh air ventilation and ensure no other gaseous elements make their way into the room, especially smoke from cigarettes.
Pulse oximeters are a handy tool that will let you know if a patient has enough blood-oxygen levels.
4. Keep in mind a few troubleshooting ideas
There may be situations where your oxygen concentrator can suddenly stop working when you least expect it, chances are they only require some minor fixes that you can find out with simple troubleshooting techniques:
Check the user manual to understand what each LED light indicates, they may light up in different ways to signify a particular error.
This can save you the hassle of calling in an expert like us and waiting for a few days for it to operate again.