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Health & Fitness

7 Winter Safety Tips for Seniors Who Use Medical Oxygen

While enjoying the snow, slush, and cold winter breeze, nothing compares to the comfort of sitting in the warm, cozy blanket in front of the fire. If your senior loved one uses medical oxygen, keeping your home safe for oxygen therapy equipment is important. Tucson Home care professionals suggest taking precautionary measures to stay safe and secure in winter while your loved one uses oxygen equipment.

1. Avoid Overheating

Put out any sources of open flames, such as wood stoves, gas stoves, fireplaces, candles, and other open flames, as these can be serious fire hazards for medical oxygen users. Even vents and heaters for central heating can become harmful if exposed directly to the therapy equipment for too long. Make sure to keep the oxygen unit at least 8 to 10 feet away from any open flame and heat sources to prevent explosions from highly combustible concentrated oxygen.

2. Don’t Use Petroleum-Based Skin Products

Dry skin and chapped lips commonly appear in the winter season. Do not buy petroleum-based skin products when choosing a lotion to rejuvenate your dehydrated skin. These substances are found to create harmful reactions when exposed to medical oxygen, leading to skin burns around the application areas. Choose cocoa butter, aloe vera, and water-based products.

3. Store Oxygen Tanks Wisely

The oxygen tank in use should be secured in a stand upright or a cart to avoid tipping. If you have spare tanks, avoid storing them in closets, cabinets, unventilated areas, under curtains, clothing, fabric, and next to heat sources. If a cart upright is unavailable, store the tanks flat and safe from rolling. Make sure to store full tanks separately from the empty ones.

4. Insulate The Tank

The tubing is likely to crack when transferred from heat to cold quickly. If your loved one likes to venture outside, the oxygen therapy device should be insulated when going out. Cover the tank with a thermal covering or a blanket to retain heat before stepping outside the house because a sudden drop in temperature can create damaging condensation in the tank. Moreover, the batteries also lose power in cold temperatures, so keep them insulated as well and take an extra while traveling.

5. Ensure Proper Ventilation

Maintaining proper ventilation is essential for seniors who use medical oxygen. Oxygen supports combustion, and its concentration in the air can increase the risk of fire. During the winter, when homes are often sealed to retain heat, it’s important to ensure that the oxygen equipment is placed in a well-ventilated area. Avoid placing oxygen concentrators or cylinders near flammable materials or heat sources such as heaters, fireplaces, or stoves. Adequate ventilation helps reduce the concentration of oxygen in the air and minimizes the risk of fire hazards.

6. Stay Warm and Hydrated

Cold temperatures can affect seniors more profoundly, and it’s important to keep them warm and hydrated during the winter months. Ensure that your senior loved one wears warm clothing, including layers, hats, gloves, and scarves, when venturing outside. Inside the home, maintain a comfortable temperature to prevent hypothermia. Adequate hydration is equally important, as cold weather can cause dehydration. Encourage your loved one to drink plenty of fluids, even if they don’t feel as thirsty as they would in warmer weather.

7. Emergency Preparedness

Being prepared for emergencies is crucial for seniors who use medical oxygen. Develop an emergency plan that includes necessary steps to take during a winter storm or other unforeseen situations. Ensure your loved one has a sufficient supply of medical oxygen, backup batteries, and additional oxygen tubing. Keep emergency contact information readily available, including the oxygen supplier, healthcare provider, and local authorities. It’s also advisable to inform neighbors, friends, or family members about the senior’s condition and specific needs, so they can assist if required.

Managing symptoms of a chronic disease can become challenging for your aging loved one. For seniors living in Tucson Home care services offered by a reputed caregiver agency are one of the best ways to prevent a wide variety of diseases. This can allow your loved one to reach health goals and lead a high quality of life while aging in place with family and cherished memories.

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