Oxygen concentrator: what are,how to choose

For urban air, the oxygen content is considered to be the norm at 20.8%. At 18% even in healthy people, headaches, drowsiness, and decreased mental activity can begin. This is the minimum concentration at which a person can normally breathe without an oxygen device. The drop in oxygen concentration up to 16% causes faster breathing and dizziness, 13% lead to loss of consciousness (Regular use of an oxygen concentrator can help improve well-being, increase efficiency and strengthen immunity)

What is an oxygen concentrator

Previously, the problem of insufficient air quality in the rooms was solved with cylinders with liquefied oxygen. However, this method has a number of drawbacks: it is difficult to ensure a uniform supply of oxygen, there is a risk of leakage and increased fire hazard, the balloon may even explode. A modern and safe solution is an oxygen concentrator. With this device, it is possible to pass air under pressure through a filter that delays nitrogen and releases a gas mixture with 95 percent oxygen content to the outside. The concentrator can be operated from a network or autonomously, from a battery.

The filter is a cylinder filled with granules of the sorbing mineral – zeolite, which is known for its ability to keep nitrogen at high pressure. When the unit is turned off, some nitrogen will be released back into the atmosphere – but this will be a very small amount, the bulk of the nitrogen will remain in the filter. Any sorbent is saturated with time, so approximately every five years, the zeolite granules need to be changed so that the performance of the concentrator does not decrease. Do not replace the filler yourself – you should contact one of the service centers for this. This is an inexpensive service that should not be neglected.

By the way!

Oxygen concentrators were invented by NASA engineers to provide oxygen to cosmonauts. Soon they began to be used in medicine. Now space technologies are available for domestic use. Zeolite, which is used in oxygen concentrators, is a natural sorbent with microporous structure, it also finds wide application in industrial water purification, in agriculture, medicine, and food industry.

Oxygen concentrators are used in medical, health-improving, sports institutions, and in recent years, domestic models have also spread.

Types of the oxygen concentrator

Depending on the purpose of use, the devices differ in size and performance.

  • Healing. Are intended for hospitals, sanatorium establishments, ambulances. Can be used for prolonged or emergency respiration support, produce 5-10 liters of oxygen per minute. They are equipped with alarm systems for monitoring the patient’s condition.
  • Universal. Used for the preparation of oxygenated foamy drinks (so-called oxygen cocktails) and oxygen therapy sessions in fitness centers and beauty salons. Produce 3-5 liters of oxygen per minute.
  • For home use. These oxygen concentrators have a capacity of 1-3 liters of oxygen per minute, are small in size, operate silently, easily fit into any interior, can be used for inhalations using a nebulizer (usually included) or preparing oxygen cocktails.

Attitude to the oxygen concentrator as an expensive toy is gradually replaced by an understanding of its need in every home. Why is this happening?

Who needs an oxygen device

People with respiratory and cardiovascular diseases need an oxygen concentrator literally like air. Especially it should be noted chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – COPD, the causes of which are mainly air pollution and smoking. According to WHO, it ranks fourth in terms of mortality, second only to heart disease, stroke, and lower respiratory tract infections. In the light of the fact that any disease is easier to prevent than treat, there is the reason to think about the quality of the inhaled air.

Oxygen therapy is recommended for athletes, smokers, elderly people. Sometimes it is prescribed to pregnant women to prevent fetal hypoxia. The benefits of oxygen cocktails are confirmed by the research of the Scientific Center for Children’s Health of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences. Thus, the oxygen concentrator is useful for the whole family, especially in the megalopolis, which provokes insignificant but constant hypoxia even in healthy people.

It is important!

Feeding regimen, duration of sessions and dosage of oxygen should always be agreed with the attending physician. Despite the absence of absolute contraindications to oxygen therapy, remember that an overdose of oxygen can cause the body no less harm than a defect. Especially you should consider this if you are going to use the hub with the whole family.

Before use, read the instructions

Details of the use of this or that model of the oxygen concentrator you will learn from the instruction, which must be carefully read. The general safety rules are as follows:

  • Oxygen is explosive, so the use of a concentrator near gas stoves and other sources of fire is unacceptable. Smoking in the room where the concentrator works are also prohibited.
  • The distance from the working concentrator to the walls and furniture should be at least 30 cm.
  • For inhalations, it is mandatory to use a humidifier (included in the kit).
  • Nasal cannulas for inhalations should be used individually.
  • Filters and pellets of zeolite must be changed at the intervals specified in the instructions.
  • Like any electrical appliance, the oxygen concentrator must not be left unattended.

How to choose an oxygen concentrator

First of all, determine the purpose of using the device. If it is purchased for one or two healthy people for preventive purposes, a household model will do. A large family in which someone suffers from chronic lung diseases, it is better to purchase a universal hub. If the family has elderly people with severe cardiac and pulmonary diseases or bedridden patients, a medical device may be required.

  • Manufacturer. The market includes devices manufactured by the United States, Germany, Russia, and China. For the price-quality ratio for home use
  • Dimensions and weight. Directly related to the performance, which requires more or fewer zeolite granules. Medical concentrators, as a rule, are larger and heavier also due to additional functionality. Concentrators with a capacity of 1-5 liters can weigh from 6 to 30 kg. The smallest, portable devices can be installed on the desk, larger ones are supplied with wheels for easy transportation (see figure).

Oxygen concentrator what are, how to choose

  • Noise level. Home concentrators rustle at a level of 35-45 dB, which is comparable to a quiet conversation. Medical hubs make noise a bit higher.
  • Functional. The oxygen concentrator can be designed for one or more users. If it is for inhalation, a humidifier is built in. Many models are equipped with a timer in order to be able to specify the exact duration of the session.
  • Performance. For short-term prophylactic inhalations, a performance of 1-3 liters per minute is sufficient. If a concentrator is required for medical purposes, it is better to choose a model with higher performance.
  • Saturation of the gas flow. The maximum concentration of oxygen at the outlet is 96%. On the average, the saturation parameters range from 87-96%. Keep in mind that they decrease as the resource of zeolite granules grows.
  • Equipment. The kit can include humidifiers, nasal cannulas, masks, diffusers, the mixer for oxygen cocktails, remote control.
  • Lifetime and warranty. As a rule, the concentrator is designed for 5-10 years of operation, which makes its cost not so high, especially taking into account the warranty period. Some manufacturers give a guarantee of up to 3 years.

Determining which particular model of the oxygen concentrator suits you, try to simulate the situations in which you will use it. Imagine where it will stand, whether it will be necessary to move it, how often you will turn it on. This will help make the right choice.

In the conditions of large cities, when daily walks in the open air are becoming less accessible, and the ecological situation is in no hurry to improve, the purchase of an oxygen concentrator becomes a profitable investment in the health of the whole family. Oxygen therapy helps to strengthen immunity, improve metabolism, improve performance.

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