Oxygen is a drug and is only given if you need it. Just like any other medicine, oxygen therapy is given at different doses to treat you safely. When you receive oxygen therapy you can’t become addicted or dependent on it.
If your lungs aren’t able to provide enough oxygen on their own, your healthcare provider may prescribe oxygen therapy.
Oxygen therapy helps your organs and tissues get the oxygen they need to work properly and be healthy. It also helps you recover from illness.
If you feel short of breath and your oxygen levels are normal, oxygen therapy doesn’t help. Your healthcare team will work with you to find other ways to treat your shortness of breath.
There are 2 ways to monitor the amount of oxygen you need.
Your healthcare team will monitor how much oxygen you need while you’re on oxygen therapy. They may adjust the dose or rate to make sure you get the amount that’s right for you.
The amount of oxygen is different for each person and is based on how well your lungs are working.
Usual target SpO2 ranges
The best target for most adults is 92 to 96% SpO2.
The best target for most children is 90 to 95% SpO2.
Your best target range may differ if you have certain types of lung disease. For example, if you have COPD, your best target range may be 88 to 92% SpO2.
It’s very important to stay at the amount of oxygen prescribed for you. Studies show that too much oxygen therapy can harm you.
Be sure to follow
all these instructions when you’re moving around or when you leave the hospital while on oxygen.
Oxygen equipment safety
Before you leave your care unit with portable oxygen, check with your healthcare team about how long you can stay away.
The skin inside your nose can get dry and sore or it can bleed when you use oxygen therapy at a high dose or for a long period of time.
Current as of: February 21, 2020
Author: Respiratory Health Strategic Clinical Network, Alberta Health Services
This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an "as is", "where is" basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use.