Virtually always, if your doctor recommends dry oxygen as opposed to other kinds of home oxygen equipment, he or she will also recommend that you use a humidifier. As a matter of fact, it is essential to have more than one humidifier when you use dry oxygen. The reason for this is that without a humidifier, you run certain risks – and, in the very least, it is much less comfortable to use dry oxygen equipment without a humidifier.
Dry oxygen is, under certain circumstances, a preferred oxygen delivery system for the patient. Therefore, when one uses dry oxygen, for whatever reason, a certain amount of moisture must be maintained in the surrounding environment. Most importantly, the humidity in the air will adhere to the dry oxygen emitted as it is delivered by your dry oxygen equipment.
Nonetheless, the dry oxygen requires clean water in the air around you. This means that the water you use in your humidifier must be filtered, distilled, it should not be tap water – that will actually have a negative effect on the reliability of your dry oxygen equipment.
Your humidifier or humidifiers must be regularly emptied and refilled with clean water for several reasons. The minerals and other things included in normal tap water could potentially cause damage to your dry oxygen equipment. Therefore, you must also be sure that the humidifier is regularly cleaned with soap and water – thoroughly rinsed, and that the water is consistently replaced strictly with filtered water. Then you can attach the humidifier to your mask or your nasal cannula.
One reason to store dry oxygen instead of moist oxygen is that some high-pressure oxygen tanks can become corroded by the moisture. It is also possible with moist oxygen tanks that the oxygen could, as a result of condensation from the moisture, form and freeze during use. A dry oxygen tank provides the ability for easier storage as well as eliminating the above problems.
As far as what becomes less of a risk for you, comes a much more comfortable state when you use dry oxygen and a humidifier. Your nose, throat, and mouth are much less likely to become dry. Some people have very sensitive skin as well, and with extra moisture in the air you can avoid skin irritations due to dryness.
A dry oxygen tank is definitely something to consider if you are a patient or caregiver who requires oxygen equipment. But remember to always check with your doctor, of course, before you make any changes to your methods and / or back – up delivery system.