- National Institute of Health
Also known as oxygen, supplemental oxygen
Oxygen therapy is a treatment where you are given oxygen gas to breathe.
You can get oxygen therapy through tubes in your nose, through a face mask, or through a tube in your windpipe. This treatment increases the amount of oxygen your lungs receive and carry to your blood. You may be prescribed oxygen therapy if you have a problem that causes the oxygen level in your blood to be too low. Low oxygen levels in your blood can make you feel short of breath, tired or confused and can damage your body.
Oxygen therapy can be given for a short or long time in the hospital, another medical facility, or at home. Oxygen is stored as a gas or liquid in special tanks. These tanks can be shipped to your home and contain a certain amount of oxygen that needs to be replenished. Another device you can use at home is an oxygen concentrator that extracts oxygen from the air for immediate use. Because oxygen concentrators do not need to be refilled, they will not run out of oxygen. Portable tanks and oxygen concentrators can make it easier for you to move around while using your therapy.
Oxygen is a fire hazard, so never smoke or use flammable materials when using oxygen. You may experience side effects of this treatment in the morning, such as a dry or bleeding nose, tiredness and headaches. Oxygen therapy is generally safe.
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