The spread of the COVID-19 virus (otherwise known as coronavirus) has reached a pandemic level. Hundreds of thousands of cases have been reported and many more are going undetected as testing has only recently become available. Individuals at higher risk include people over the age of 60 and those who are immunocompromised or suffering from underlining chronic conditions, including asthma and respiratory illnesses. Individuals on oxygen therapy are considered high risk for contracting coronavirus. What do you need to know and how can you prevent illness?
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a respiratory disease similar to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).1 According to CDC, hallmark symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. These symptoms may appear within 2-14 days following exposure to the disease. If you experience these symptoms or have been in close contact to someone displaying these symptoms, contact your doctor.
Oxygen Therapy & COVID-19
Doctors prescribed oxygen therapy for a number of respiratory issues, including COPD, pneumonia, and cystic fibrosis.2 Supplemental oxygen is provided either via oxygen tank or oxygen concentrator. A doctor must prescribe oxygen therapy prior to its use as too much oxygen in the blood can result in oxygen toxicity.3
While much is still being learned about the coronavirus COVID-19, it is clear that those with on oxygen therapy, that have compromised respiratory systems are at higher risk for severe infection. If you or someone you know fall into this category, be sure you are following steps to help prevent the spread, or contraction, of this disease.
What Other Steps Can I Take?
In addition to the current guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19, there are a number of steps that patients on supplemental oxygen can take.
Be sure to keep extra supplies on hand. Cannulas are necessary for receiving therapy and not having any extra on hand can be problematic. In fact, it is a good idea to keep extras around at all times. Filters and tubing are also critical in receiving effective and accurate therapy, so you should always have plenty.
Do Not Reuse Supplies
This may seem like common sense, but do not reuse old or dirty supplies. Dispose of cannulas after 30 days. Wipe them with a clean, damp cloth regularly. Do not use alcohol-based products or strongly scented detergents to clean them.
If you are using a home or portable concentrator for your therapy, make sure you have access to a known, working electrical outlet. Consider keeping a spare AC or DC cable on hand. We also recommend keeping a back-up battery in case of power outages or other emergencies. Double-check that your battery is fully charged.
What if I Need a Nebulizer?
For those patients who need a nebulizer for prescribed respiratory medication, make sure you continue to use it. While there are currently no known medications or treatments for COVID-19, treating the symptoms of your current respiratory illness is a priority. Be sure to always have enough medication on hand and contact your doctor immediately if you are running low. Stock up on replenishment supplies and do not reuse any old or dirty items.
If you are currently not on oxygen therapy or nebulizer treatment for a respiratory illness, please do not attempt to use it to alleviate symptoms without first consulting a doctor. Do not share equipment as that is one of the simplest ways to cause the spread of germs and viruses. Follow the CDC and WHO guidelines for preventing the transmission of diseases, including but not limited to COVID-19.
If you have further questions on purchasing oxygen accessories or have been recently prescribed oxygen therapy and have questions on how to get started, our knowledgeable customer care team is here to help. Call 888-941-1688 or email us today.