Need to buy an oxygen concentrator? Consider these must-know points before buying one

Need to buy an oxygen concentrator? Consider these must-know points before buying one

India is battling with the second wave of pandemic. Seeing large number of people gasping for oxygen, hospitals running out of beds, and increasing death toll, there has not just been a rise in the demand of medicines but also oxygen concentrators in India. With hospitals falling short of oxygen cylinders and concentrators, people are bringing concentrators home to ensure that they or their loved ones don't struggle for oxygen. Having an oxygen concentrator at home gives a sense of relief that in case of any emergency if one fails to find an oxygen bed or there is any shortage of oxygen, a concentrator can be used to ensure that oxygen level of the person does not drop to severe level.
However, there is a general lack of awareness on what exactly is a concentrator and related questions like how it works, what are its types or when do you need one. Here is a quick guide to help you find answers to all these questions and more. Take a look.

What is an oxygen concentrator and how it works exactly?

An oxygen concentrator is a medical equipment used in case of breathing-related illness. A healthy pair of lungs need 21 per cent of oxygen concentration to function properly. However, in case of any breathing-related ailment such as Covid, lungs get affected and find it difficult to operate with natural oxygen concentration. It requires more concentrated oxygen and it is then when a patient needs medical intervention.
A concentrator is like an oxygen cylinder only with zero hassle of refilling. It basically sucks air from the environment, eliminates unwanted gases, concentrates oxygen which is taken in through a pipe by the patient. It can help maintain the oxygen level and prevent it from dripping to critical levels. However, it should be used only in case of mild or moderate Covid cases and under medical supervision always.

When should you buy an oxygen concentrator?

Any medical equipment should be bought only after it is advised by a medic. A concentrator can be bought if the patient is unable to maintain normal oxygen saturation level. An oximeter can be used to detect oxygen level. Normally, oxygen saturation below 93 needs medical intervention.

What are the different types of oxygen concentrator?

There are several factors that influence the type of concentrator you choose but mainly they can be divided in two types- continuous oxygen flow and pulse dose oxygen flow concentrator. As the names suggest, a continuous flow concentrator maintains constant flow of oxygen irrespective of whether patient is breathing in or not.
With Pulse dose concentrators, it is different. Instead of maintaining constant flow, this concentrator detects a change in the air pressure in the nasal cannula of patient and accordingly flows oxygen doses.

What are the other factors to keep in mind?

There are many other factors to keep in mind when you buy a concentrator like portability. There are home oxygen concentrators that are ideal for patients at home. They have to be directly plugged into a wall socket and provide a higher amount of oxygen than a portable oxygen concentrator. They are a better choice than portable ones. The capacity of concentrator is another important factor. A 10l is always better than 5l capacity concentrators. Most important of all is the oxygen concentration level. Every concentrator has a different oxygen concentration level. Some can provide you with air that has 87 per cent oxygen, while others promise the same up to 93 per cent. It is always best to go with one that can give around 93 per cent oxygen concentration.