Administration of oxygen
Oxygen (O2) is administered as a corrective treatment for conditions
resulting in hypoxia (low level of oxygen in the blood).
Oxygen is classed as a medication and must be prescribed by a doctor and administered correctly to prevent over- or under-oxygenation.
Remember oxygen is NOT flammable, but it does aid combustion.
Patients and visitors should therefore be educated about the increased risk of fire and the precautions necessary to reduce this risk when supplementary oxygen is in use (see ‘General considerations’ below).
Oxygen must only be administered at the rate and percentage prescribed, as over-oxygenation can be dangerous for some individuals, particularly those with chronic lung disease who are retaining carbon dioxide, and infants, where there is also a risk of retinopathy.
The equipment required consists of a mask or nasal cannula that enables the administration of the prescribed dose (percentage); connection tubing; flow meter; wall or cylinder oxygen supply (oxygen cylinders are black with a white collar); and a humidifier with sterile water if required.