If you or someone you love uses an oxygen tank, you might be in danger and not even realize it. Doctors recommend the products for those who have problems breathing and those with a lung disease. If you have one of these in your home, you should be aware of the dangers associated with the tanks and how to prevent those dangers from occurring.
The Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations discovered that 11 fires occurred from 1997 to 2001 in the homes of patients undergoing oxygen therapy. The one thing these patients had in common was that each was a smoker. The small amount of oxygen that escapes from the tank can coat surfaces around your body. Smoking increases the chances of a fire occurring around the oxygen tank. It’s recommend that you don’t smoke around the tanks because of this danger.
Fires can break out due to open flames around the oxygen tank, beyond a cigarette or cigar. A candle, lit match, incense and any other type of open flame can result in the same danger as a cigarette. When the open flame touches the oxygen leaking from the tank, it can lead to a large fire. This is even more common in homes without working smoke detectors. The best thing to do is keep all forms of open flame away from the oxygen tank.
If you’re still convinced that smoking or candles aren’t a danger in terms of an oxygen tank, think of how you would feel if the tank exploded. There are cases where an open flame started a fire, which in turn caused the tank to explode. This often happens as a result of the fire reaching the inside of the tank and igniting the oxygen within. An explosion of this type can cause serious damage to the home as well as those around the oxygen tank.
Not following the instruction that come with the oxygen tank is another potential danger. Many people who use these tanks do so because their lungs can’t receive enough oxygen from the air to survive. Neglecting to check the levels in the tank or not turning the cap the right way can result in oxygen not coming out when it’s needed. The person may find that during a medical emergency, their tank is empty. The only way to prevent it is by checking the tank and following the instructions carefully.
A common problem reported by users of oxygen tanks are skin problems such as a rash appearing on their face where the mask of the tank rests. This problem can become a danger if left untreated, especially if the individual scratches or rubs the rash. There are instances where the rash becomes so serious that the individual must seek medical attention. If you notice a redness appearing on your skin, try using gauze pads to cover the area before using the mask.