How to use medical oxygen cylinders at home

Medical oxygen cylinders are used when the patient has breathing problems, it is necessary to pay attention to where to place, how to install and remove to ensure safety to prevent fire and explosion when using.

According to the instructions of the Center for Disease Control of Ho Chi Minh City (HCDC), the way to use medical oxygen cylinders at home is as follows:

Prepare a place for the oxygen tank

Clear the head of the patient’s bed to place the oxygen tank. Place the jar in a place where there is no impact, and the space is well ventilated. The bottle is far away from heat sources, electrical sources such as gas stoves, cigarette smoke… at least 5 m.

Check oxygen tank

Blue oxygen tank. Oxygen breathing apparatus, also known as a meter and column containing oxygen balls, a humidifier, includes: flow control valve, pressure gauge, flow meter, humidifier. Oxygen line with or without respirator.

How to install oxygen tank

Step 1: Connect the meter to the oxygen tank. Pay attention to turn the thread, then use a wrench to tighten it.

Step 2: Pour water into the humidifier. Fill about ½ of the pitcher with water, using purified water or drinking water. Water should not be lower than the upper line on the bottle (if there are two lines, calculate the lower line).

How to install an oxygen tank. Photo: HCDC.

Step 3: Insert the oxygen wire into the humidifier.

Step 4: Open the oxygen cylinder valve by turning the cylinder valve counterclockwise.

Step 5: Check the clock hands. The clock hands in the blue area are oxygen, yellow is about to run out of oxygen, and red is out of oxygen.

Step 6: Adjust the dose of oxygen. Turn the oxygen knob so that the ball is level 2 (ie breathing 2 liters/min).

Step 7: Wear a breathing oxygen belt.

Wear a nasal cannula or mask and breathe evenly.

– Wearing cannula: Check the oxygen frame for broken, cracked. Notice the downward curvature, then thread the string over the ear and tie the knot.

– Pay attention to the dose of oxygen: With Cannula, start at 2 liters / minute, up to 6 liters / minute. With a mask, start at 3 liters/min, up to 10 liters/min.

Wear a breathing oxygen belt.  Photo: HCDC.

How to wear a breathing oxygen belt. Photo: HCDC.

The order to turn off the oxygen tank

Step 1: Close the tank valve tightly: Turn clockwise.

Step 2: Wait for the oxygen meter to reach 0.

Step 3: Turn the knob to 0.

Step 4: Remove the thread.

The order to turn off the oxygen tank.  Photo: HCDC.

The order to turn off the oxygen tank. Photo: HCDC.

Fire safety

When transporting, close all valves and knobs. Fix the jar firmly, do not drag and transport gently.

Should be prepared for fire extinguishers and fire alarm devices (if any).

Hands and feet, clothes that are not greasy, alcohol-based solutions (eg hand sanitizer…) when assembling oxygen tanks.

Open valve (with hissing sound), do not arbitrarily repair.

Do not self-extract or fill the tank with foreign gas.

Do not touch to damage the thread, where the oxygen wire is attached to leak oxygen.

Signs of lack of oxygen

Purple lips and fingertips.

Contract the muscle position on the neck and flanks.


Pulse over 100 beats/min. Count continuously for one minute with fingers 2 and 3.

Shortness of breath, rapid breathing >24 times/minute. Count breaths by placing your hand on the abdominal wall and counting the movement of the abdominal wall during breathing for one minute.

Measured by SpO2 machine (if available): index <94%

General principles when giving patients oxygen

Avoid drying out the airways by using a humidifier and drinking extra water.

When breathing oxygen for a long time, it must be maintained at the lowest dose that the patient does not have difficulty breathing. Do not breathe at too high a dose or increase the dose too quickly. Adjust every 15 minutes.

Le Phuong