What is Oxygen Therapy?
Oxygen therapy is a prescription treatment for low oxygen levels in the blood (hypoxemia). It is used to help people with certain lung conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or sleep apnea. People who have a low oxygen level because of these conditions may feel short of breath or tired, and they have difficulty thinking clearly. They can also develop bluish tint to their skin and lips.
With supplemental oxygen, people with lung conditions can breathe in enough oxygen to feel better and to be more active. Oxygen therapy is a life-saving treatment for some people who need oxygen all the time to survive, and others may need it only when they exercise or sleep. Your doctor will figure out how much oxygen you need. Then they will give you a prescription for oxygen therapy, including a specific flow rate per minute. Some people use portable tanks that can be taken with them, while others get their oxygen from a large and stationary machine in their home or from a care facility.
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Some patients will need oxygen therapy for their entire lives, while others may need it only for a short period of time to improve a temporary hypoxemic condition, like severe pneumonia or bronchiolitis. Other patients need oxygen therapy for long-term conditions, such as COPD. Some patients will also be treated with ozone therapy, a gas that has been shown to have antibacterial, antioxidant and antifungal properties.