At Gardens Pharmacy’s Durable Medical Equipment department, you’re sure to get treated like family. We offer free delivery in the MS Gulf Coast to all of our DME patients. We are available 24/7, whether you need oxygen, a CPAP, or help in answering any questions – we are a phone call away. Call us at 228.818.5111 ext.3, or the Respiratory Therapist 24/7 direct line at 228.369.1336. We carry a plethora of home medical equipment & supplies such as portable oxygen concentrators, diabetic shoes, and CPAPs. Read below for some educational information on oxygen use at home, diabetic footwear, and sleep apnea – and how to get these services from Gardens Pharmacy.
Oxygen Use at Home:
Your provider can prescribe oxygen for home use. The prescription will show the flow rate, or how much oxygen is to be used per minute, and it will be listed in liters per minute (LPM or L/M).
You will use oxygen therapy as directed. It can be used while exercising, sleeping, or at rest. You may need oxygen continuously. Your caregiver may order a blood oxygen test (arterial blood gas or pulse oximetry test) that will show what your oxygen level is. Your caregiver will use these measurements to learn about your needs and follow your progress.
Home oxygen therapy is commonly used on patients with various lung (pulmonary) and heart related conditions. Some of these conditions include:
- Lung cancer.
- Chronic bronchitis.
- Cystic fibrosis.
- Other lung diseases.
- Pulmonary fibrosis.
- Occupational lung disease.
- Heart failure.
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
- Pulmonary hypertension.
3 COMMON WAYS OF PROVIDING OXYGEN THERAPY
- Gas: The gas form of oxygen is put into variously sized cylinders or tanks. The cylinders or oxygen tanks contain compressed oxygen. The cylinder is equipped with a regulator that controls the flow rate. Because the flow of oxygen out of the cylinder is constant, an oxygen-conserving device may be attached to the system to avoid waste. This device releases the gas only when you inhale and cuts it off when you exhale. Oxygen can be provided in a small cylinder that can be carried with you. Large tanks are heavy and are only for stationary use. After use, empty tanks must be exchanged for full tanks.
- Liquid: The liquid form of oxygen is put into a container similar to a thermos. When released, the liquid converts to a gas and you breathe it in just like the compressed gas. This storage method takes up less space than the compressed gas cylinder, and you can transfer the liquid to a small, portable vessel at home. Liquid oxygen is more expensive than the compressed gas, and the vessel vents when not in use. An oxygen-conserving device may be built into the vessel to conserve the oxygen. Liquid oxygen is very cold, around 297° below zero.
- Oxygen concentrator: This medical device filters oxygen from room air and gives almost 100% oxygen to the patient. Oxygen concentrators are powered by electricity. Benefits of this system are:
- It does not need to be resupplied.
- It is not as costly as liquid oxygen.
- Extra tubing permits the user to move around easier.
There are several types of small, portable oxygen systems available that can help you remain active and mobile. You must have a cylinder of oxygen as a backup in the event of a power failure. Advise your electric power company that you are on oxygen therapy in order to get priority service when there is a power failure.
OXYGEN DELIVERY DEVICES
There are 3 common ways to deliver oxygen to your body.
- Nasal cannula. This is a 2-pronged device inserted in the nostrils that is connected to tubing carrying the oxygen. The tubing can rest on the ears or be attached to the frame of eyeglasses.
- Mask. People who need a high flow of oxygen generally use a mask.
- Transtracheal catheter. Transtracheal oxygen therapy requires the insertion of a small, flexible tube (catheter) in the windpipe (trachea). This catheter is held in place by a necklace. Since transtracheal oxygen bypasses the mouth, nose, and throat, a humidifier is absolutely required at flow rates of 1 LPM or greater.
- Never smoke while using oxygen.
- Oxygen does not burn or explode, but materials will burn faster in the presence of oxygen.
- Keep a fire extinguisher close by. Let your fire department know that you have oxygen in your home.
- Warn visitors not to smoke near you when you are using oxygen. Put up "no smoking" signs in your home where you most often use the oxygen.
- When you go to a restaurant with your portable oxygen source, ask to be seated in the nonsmoking section.
- Stay at least 5 feet away from gas stoves, candles, lighted fireplaces, or other heat sources.
- Do not use materials that burn easily (flammable) while using your oxygen.
- If you use an oxygen cylinder, make sure it is secured to some fixed object or in a stand. If you use liquid oxygen, make sure the vessel is kept upright to keep the oxygen from pouring out. Liquid oxygen is so cold it can hurt your skin.
- If you use an oxygen concentrator, call your electric company so you will be given priority if there is a power failure. Avoid using extension cords, if possible.
GUIDELINES FOR CLEANING YOUR EQUIPMENT
- Wash the nasal prongs with a liquid soap. Thoroughly rinse them once or twice a week.
- Replace the prongs every 2 to 4 weeks. If you have an infection (cold, pneumonia) change them when you are well.
- Your caregiver will give you instructions on how to clean your transtracheal catheter.
- The humidifier bottle should be washed with soap and warm water and rinsed thoroughly between each refill. Air-dry the bottle before filling it with sterile or distilled water. The bottle and its top should be disinfected after they are cleaned.
- If you use an oxygen concentrator, unplug the unit. Then wipe down the cabinet with a damp cloth and dry it daily. The air filter should be cleaned at least once a week.
- Follow your home medical equipment and service company's directions for cleaning the compressor filter.
HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS
- Do not change the flow of oxygen unless directed by your caregiver.
- Do not use alcohol or other sedating drugs unless instructed. They slow your breathing rate.
- Do not use materials that burn easily (flammable) while using your oxygen.
- Always keep a spare tank of oxygen. Plan ahead for holidays when you may not be able to get a prescription filled.
- Use water-based lubricants on your lips or nostrils. Do not use an oil-based product like petroleum jelly.
- To prevent your cheeks or the skin behind your ears from becoming irritated, tuck some gauze under the tubing.
- If you have persistent redness under your nose, call your caregiver.
- When you no longer need oxygen, your doctor will have the oxygen discontinued. Oxygen is not addicting or habit-forming.
- Use the oxygen as instructed. Too much oxygen can be harmful and too little will not give you the benefit you need.
- Shortness of breath is not always from a lack of oxygen. If your oxygen level is not the cause of your shortness of breath, taking oxygen will not help.
SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF:
- You have frequent headaches.
- You have shortness of breath or a lasting cough.
- You have anxiety.
- You are confused.
- You are drowsy or sleepy all the time.
- You develop an illness that aggravates your breathing.
- You cannot exercise.
- You are restless.
- You have blue lips or fingernails.
- You have difficult or irregular breathing and it is getting worse.
- You have an oral temperature above 102° F (38.9° C).
Our Diabetic Footwear with heat moldable inserts helps with the pressure points and blood circulation. They are extra deep, have a larger toe box, and have no seams sewn anywhere to avoid any rubbings or blisters. The Dr. Comfort Shoes we carry are some of the most durable therapeutic footwear that’s available today. They are a desirable, sophisticated style of footwear geared towards the diabetic patient; however, the benefits will help everyone. We also have slippers, diabetic socks, and sandals available.
In many cases, the shoes are covered by Medicare and supplemental insurance.
If you have any foot health issues, we encourage you to seek a Foot Healthcare Physician to address any foot health concerns you may have.
Come to Gardens Pharmacy & Compounding to view our large selection, or come with your prescription to get a pair of Dr. Comfort shoes today!
HELPFUL HINTS TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR FEET
- Check your feet every day for cuts, infected toenails, swelling, and sores. If you have trouble seeing your feet get a family member to help you, you could also use a mirror.
- Gently wash your feet every day with warm water. Soaking will cause your feet to dry out. Be sure to dry between each toe.
- Trim your toe nails straight across and smooth them with a nail file, do not cut the corners or curve the nail. If you have limited feeling in your feet, have your Podiatrist trim them.
- Keep your feet soft and smooth; use lotion only on the bottom and top. Do not put lotion between your toes. This could trap moisture and cause problems.
- If you have any corns or calluses have your healthcare professional address them for the best care.
- Protect your feet from direct heat and cold. Wear socks if your feet get cold. Wear socks and/or shoes at all times to protect you from stepping on something that may cut or poke you. Clean socks without seams are best for the feet. A good pair of slippers will help protect your feet while at home.
- To help with the blood circulation don’t cross your legs for a long period of time, put your feet up while you are sitting, wiggle those toes, and move your ankles around, back and forth, up and down for 5 minute while you have your feet propped up. Do this 2 or 3 times daily.
- Don’t smoke. Ask your doctor about a daily activity plan that will help you be a little more active. Short walks and swimming are not stressful or hard on the feet.
- Make healthy choices to help keep your blood sugar and your A1C level at a good level. Eat a healthy diet that includes fresh vegetables, lean meat, and healthy fats, adding in some whole grains. Have your blood pressure and cholesterol checked on a regular basis.
- Visit your doctor on a regular basis and if you have any problems be sure to give them a call. Take your medications as prescribed. Visit your optometrist once a year.
- Take care of your feet; they will take you places.
WHAT IS SLEEP APNEA?
Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder. People who have sleep apnea stop breathing for 10 seconds to 30 seconds at a time while they are sleeping. These short stops in breathing can happen up to 400 times every night. If you have sleep apnea, periods of not breathing can disturb your sleep (even if they don't fully wake you up).
IS SLEEP APNEA COMMON?
It is estimated that more than 12 million Americans have sleep apnea. Men, people who are overweight, and people who are older than 40 years of age are more likely to have sleep apnea. However, it can affect anyone at any age. If you are interested in meeting other people who have sleep apnea, you can visit the American Sleep Apnea Association's website to find the location of a support group near you.
WILL THIS PROBLEM CHANGE MY LIFE?
Actually, sleep apnea may already have affected you more than you know. Chances are things will improve for you once the diagnosis is made and you start treatment. Whatever your treatment, remember that you are not alone and help is available.
How sleepy are you? Click here to find out if you should seek medical attention.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE SLEEP APNEA?
Because some of the symptoms of sleep apnea occur while you're sleeping, your bed partner may notice it first. You, or that person, may notice heavy snoring or long pauses in your breathing during sleep. Even if you don't remember waking up during the night, you may notice daytime sleepiness (such as falling asleep at work, while driving or when talking), irritability or fatigue. You may also experience morning headaches, forgetfulness, mood changes and a decreased interest in sex.
CAUSES & RISK FACTORS
WHAT CAUSES SLEEP APNEA?
There are 2 kinds of sleep apnea: obstructive apnea and central apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type. Nine out of 10 people who have sleep apnea have this type of apnea. If you have obstructive apnea, something is blocking the airway that brings air into your body (also called the trachea). When you try to breathe, you can't get enough air because of the blockage. Your airway might be blocked by your tongue, tonsils or uvula (the little piece of flesh that hangs down in the back of your throat). It might also be blocked by a large amount of fatty tissue in the throat or by relaxed throat muscles.
Central sleep apnea is less common. This type of sleep apnea is related to the function of the central nervous system. If you have this type of apnea, the muscles you use to breathe don't get the "go-ahead" signal from your brain. Either the brain doesn't send the signal, or the signal gets interrupted.
DIAGNOSIS & TESTS
HOW IS SLEEP APNEA DIAGNOSED?
Your doctor can diagnose sleep apnea. He or she may ask you if you feel tired or sleepy during the day. Your doctor may also want to know about your bedtime habits and how well you sleep. Your doctor may ask you to go to a sleep disorder center for a sleep study. Tests done at the sleep disorder center may reveal which kind of sleep apnea you have. You may also need to take some equipment home with you to do a sleep study there.
IS THERE ANYTHING I CAN DO TO HELP MY SLEEP APNEA?
Yes. The following steps help many people who have sleep apnea:
- Stop all use of alcohol or sleep medicines. These relax the muscles in the back of your throat, making it harder for you to breathe.
- If you smoke, quit smoking.
- If you are overweight, lose weight.
- Sleep on your side instead of on your back.
HOW IS SLEEP APNEA TREATED?
Certain dental devices can be used to treat mild cases of obstructive sleep apnea. These devices move your jaw forward to make breathing easier.
A common treatment for sleep apnea is called "continuous positive airway pressure," or CPAP. In this treatment, you wear a special mask over your nose and mouth while you are sleeping. The mask will keep your airway open by adding pressure to the air you breathe. It helps most people who have sleep apnea.
In very few cases, surgery is necessary to remove tonsils or extra tissue from the throat.
IS SLEEP APNEA DANGEROUS?
Sleep apnea can cause serious problems if it isn't treated. Your risk of high blood pressure, heart failure and stroke is higher if you have serious sleep apnea that goes untreated. You are also more likely to have traffic accidents if you drive while you're sleepy. If you have sleep apnea, it is very important to get treatment.
American Sleep Apnea Association
6856 Eastern Avenue, NW #203
Washington, DC 20012-2119
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR DOCTOR
- Do I need a sleep study? Click here to download the Epworth Sleepiness Scale to get screened for sleep apnea.
- What are the health risks associated with sleep apnea?
- What lifestyle changes can I make at home to help treat my sleep apnea?
- Will I need to wear a CPAP device?
- Will the CPAP device bother my partner?