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Oxygen Therapy
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

Oxygen Therapy Overview

Written by FoundHealth.


Oxygen therapy is the delivery of extra oxygen to the lungs. It is done to increase the level of available oxygen in your body.

Lung Respiration
Lung Respiration
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What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

There are specific requirements that must be met before oxygen can be prescribed. Your doctor may need to check your blood oxygen levels with a pulse oximeter.

A doctor will write a prescription for oxygen as needed. The prescription will include how much oxygen is needed, how the oxygen will be given, and when to use it.

Description of the Procedure

Oxygen therapy is most commonly given with a nasal cannula or a face mask. A nasal cannula is a tube that is put into your nostrils. If you have a stoma, oxygen can also be given through a tube directly to the stoma.

Oxygen systems are available in three forms:

  • Concentrators—devices that plug into an electrical outlet and pull oxygen from the air.
  • Compressed gas systems—available in a variety of portable sizes in steel or aluminum tanks
  • Liquid systems—include both a large, stationary component and a smaller, portable component to carry oxygen

How Long Will It Take?

The length of time for which oxygen therapy is to be given depends on your lung function. It can last from a few hours a day to 24 hours a day.

Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions .

Will It Hurt?

The procedure is painless.



American Lung Association

Children's Physician Network


Canadian Lung Association

Health Canada


American Lung Association website. Available at: .

Bateman NT, Leach RM. ABC of oxygen. BMJ. 1998;317:798-801. Available at . Accessed February 28, 2007.

Bailey RE. Home oxygen therapy for treatment of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Am Fam Physician. 2004;70(5). Available at . Accessed February 28, 2007.



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