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General practitioners to prescribe oxygen concentrators.

Publication Date
  • Research Article
  • Medicine


Why do some children need oxygen therapy? Oxygen is a basic need for all humans. The air we breathe contains about 21 percent oxygen at sea level. This amount is enough for children who have healthy lungs and many with lung disease. However, some children with lung disease are unable to get enough oxygen in their bodies through normal breathing. They require extra oxygen to maintain normal function. How do I know if my child needs oxygen? A healthcare provider will figure out if your child needs oxygen therapy by testing the level of oxygen in his or her blood. This test is called an arterial blood gas (ABG). Blood is drawn from an artery (usually in the wrist). Your child’s oxygen level (oxygen saturation or O2 Sat) can also be measured with a small device called a pulse oximeter. This device can be clipped painlessly on to your child’s finger, toe or earlobe. With this device, O2 sats can be checked over a period of time, for example, during sleep or exercise. The general goal is to keep your child’s oxygen at a level that meets the body’s need for oxygen, usually 90% O2 sat or higher. How much oxygen should my child take? Oxygen is a medical treatment. A healthcare provider writes a prescription for the amount of oxygen needed. The provider will prescribe an oxygen setting or flow rate. You may need to use a different setting or flow rate for different activities, for example during exercise, eating, and sleep. It is very important that you use the oxygen exactly as it has been prescribed. Using too little may stress your child’s brain and heart, resulting in fatigue, memory loss or changes in heart function. Too much oxygen can also be a problem at times, especially for the lungs. Will my child need oxygen during sleep? During sleep, people slow down their breathing and may not breathe as deeply. If a person has a low oxygen level while awake, usually he or she will have lower levels during sleep. In some cases, children who may not need extra oxygen w

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