Do any asthmatics require the use of Oxygen at home?

Hi all, im new to here, i was just wondering if some asthmatics require the use of Oxygen at home. I have very poorly controled asthma! I am looking for all the alternatives, oxygen seems to help when im in hospital so why not at home!

Thanks, Mollymay. x

18 Replies

  • In answer to your immediate question, yes, some very severe asthmatics do have home oxygen - but often not as a substitute for hospital assessment, more as a help to support them until they can get to hospital.

    I notice from you profile that your medication at the moment is becotide 800mg daily and salbutamol. There are an awful lot of medications for you to use to get better control over your asthma before you even consider oxygen (or even nebs, as you suggest in your profile) - if your asthma is badly controlled, as you say, then you need to go and chat to your doctor.

  • i agree with Cathbear, home oxygen is a very extreeme treatment, yes it helps in a controlled hospital environment, but you may have to try other meds to get yourself under control. Are you seeing a consultant?

  • I have home oxygen and im sure the others who have on here will agree it isnt to be taken lightly and isnt something to push for or shout about?

    When used in hopsital its an acute situation and your in hospital because you need to be in that environment for that care. We use are oxygen because are lungs are so damaged we cant mantain our oxygen levels, when we use it in an acute attack its usually only to give us time to get to hospital for treatment.

    As the others said you may see it as an option because you've had those treatments in an acute attack but theres a long way to go before you need or will be given them.


  • Home oxygen is something for you and your respirtory consultant to discuss. If you are having a hard time getting off O2 in hospital or if after properly controlled tests including the ""walk test"" are carried out when you are well and you are unable to maintain decent oxygen levels then it will be considered. It is not handed out willy nilly I am guessing that everyone here who has home O2 will have been through the many meds that can be tried, been using home nebs for some time, long term steriods etc and had many long admissions requiring O2 therepy. Oxygen is a drug and should you need it you will have to work with your resp team to work out what is right for you. You can't just go to your GP and suggest he gives you a script for it! I would strongly recommend you explore other avenues such as long lasting salbutamol, theophyllins or maybe even maintenece steriods, nebs etc before rushing to go down this route.

    Where are you based maybe you should seek a referal to one of the execellent difficult asthma centres dotted around, there is one in Leeds (new one!), Manchester, Birmingham, London, Southampton er brain dead now perhaps others could add to the list...


  • Hi

    Just wondering if you've tried getting a neb not sure how much they cost but you can usually get them of a medical site on the internet or your GP and docs surgery can help you get hold of one etc as its part of your inhaler but works just like the oxygen just a little weaker and also the great thing is you can get them in sizes to fit in your bag or theres always a slightly bigger one for home use

    hope this is of help

    Toria x

  • I think MollyMay has a huge way to go as regards other treatments before she starts thinking about home nebs or home O2. Home nebs, like home O2, are only ever used after all other treatment avenues have been explored - and even then only as part of a very comprehensive management plan. A lot of people on here are outside of the ""norms"" of asthma treatment - in more general terms, if you need to neb, then you probably need to be in hospital where you can be closely monitored - and even more so for a thirteen-year-old.

  • I agree with Cathbear and others. There are loads of other medications you can try before oxygen and nebs. Get a referral to a chest consultant if you are having no joy with your GP they will work through your triggers and work out what other medication you can have.

    When I first came on here I wondered if I should ask for nebs too but discovered there was much more available to me before that. Now my asthma is a lot better controlled on a different/higher dose of inhaler and two tablets a day. I also have a plan for when I'm ill which is another thing that helps immensly, just having a course of steroids in the house to hopefully catch things before I even need to go to A and E to have nebs.


  • I agree with all that has been said home nebs can be dangerous and are only given to these people who other wise could not function day to day life without them. Or like me have 4 hourly neb as part of my treatment I have home o2 but only need it as a back up when I am ill and my sats just wont play ball but I am not ill enough to go to hossie. You need to have either extremely uncontrolled or severe asthma or tired every option in the book before home o2 is needed. I am young myself in regards to many here molly may is only 13 we should therefore be careful not to frighten her and give her unnecessary ideas as getting to the stage that you require both these treatment is a long way down the road with asthma medication and is many years in some cases when asthma becomes more serious in those of us that it dose and mollymays asthma may never get this bad mollymay please don’t think this is a get at you type posting it just scares me when people suggest other types of home medication such as home nebs to someone like yourself firstly they don’t know your asthma history and they are suggesting a medication that can be dangers to use if not used correctly to someone so young and some one on medication that is not suggestive of severe uncontrolled asthma.. Mollymay You should speak to an health professions if you want more advice on home 02 but I feel you would get no benefit from it as your medication is most properly right for your asthma. Take care and pm if you need some further help.i can understand you may feel better after use with o2 in hossie but mainly you only require it at home if like me some days you cannot move from the chair without being ill and your o2 levels low as mine are normally running at 89/90 which is low so unless you are medically requiring it leave this idea in the box!!


  • Oxygen is a drug. If you need this drug it will be prescribed for you. Oxygen does not help your lungs any, in fact I think I'm right in saying it is actually toxic to your lungs in high doses. It can mess up your carbon dioxide (the waste gas you breathe out) if your lungs have air trapping. It is prescribed to protect your heart because low oxygen levels strain your heart. If you do not need it it will not be given to you. Slightly low oxygen levels are better for the body than very high ones, you can live with slightly low oxygen levels, if you have them that is.

    As for nebs the same applies if you need them they will be prescribed you won't need to 'push' for them and buying a neb is no good if you don't have medication to put in it is it?

    By the sounds of things molly may its not relief from breathlessness you need, its control, at the moment par inhalers your not on anything that will do that.

    You have to have extensive tests before being put on oxygen and usually people aren't put straight onto it and never come off it again, its more of a gradual thing. GPs do not have the knowledge (in my experience) or the facilities to do these tests, careful guidance is given to new oxygen patients on how often they should use it and how much according to their needs and test results.

    I am young too, I have been on oxygen fulltime for 5 years because I need it. My oxygen levels have shown to be unstable and often drop very low, very quickly during attacks with little or no warning and I am unable to maintain safe oxygen levels when I'm well on air. I have been having almost continuous tests for 5 years to monitor my oxygen levels and get me on the right amount of oxygen. I now have to use a non invasive ventilator at night as well because I am now unable to keep my carbon dioxide levels down. I take guidance from my London specialists on how much I should be using and often go there for tests and studies.

    Oxygen is not something that shouldn't be played with and is very dangerous in the wrong hands.


  • Just another little point for some people home O2 isnt advised either as they would leave it too late to get help when ill !!

    As others have said O2 is a drug and before even thinking of it to be prescribed there are rigourous tests to prove the need for home O2 !!

    Also nebulisers are a last resort !!

    Ive used nebs for yrs as I simply couldnt breathe without them but O2 was deemed needed but not advised as I need to get to hospital SOONER when ill and as such if home O2 was prescribed I would try to long to manage at home !!

    Molly may like others have said there is loads and loads of drugs to try before u need anywhere like home nebs and especially O2 so get ya parents to talk with you and your asthma care team about your concerns !!

    THey know you better than anyone here and they will try to do what they can for you !!

  • Tks you are quite right re: O2 and GPs - some might have the expertise, if they've worked in respiratory med in the past (I'm not one of them, I have to add) - but we don't have direct access to these kinds of tests; they have to be done under the supervision of a respiratory consultant. Similarly, O2 can only be initiated by a respiratory consultant - as GPs we can no longer do this.

  • Some great advice in this thread; thanks folks.

    Just have to act in the spirit of avoiding misinformation with regard to a post further down this thread; that a neb ""works just like the oxygen just a little weaker"".

    No, no and thrice no.

    And also, there's no point in buying a home neb if you're not being prescribed nebules to go in it!

    TKS was spot on; if you need something, you will be prescribed it. There is a long way to go in terms of medication to control asthma before you get to the neb stage, never mind home oxygen.

  • Some great advice in this thread; thanks folks.

    Just have to act in the spirit of avoiding misinformation with regard to a post further down this thread; that a neb is ""part of your inhaler"" and ""works just like the oxygen just a little weaker"".

    No, no and thrice no.

    And also, there's no point in buying a home neb if you're not being prescribed nebules to go in it!

    TKS was spot on; if you need something, you will be prescribed it. There is a long way to go in terms of medication to control asthma before you get to the neb stage, never mind home oxygen.

  • just to add another view i too enquired re having nebs for short peroid as struggling but was told not policy in my hospital to give home nebs for the reason that it actually deays you seeking medical help at a time when you prob need it most. thinking about it i can fully understand that and guess that those that are deemed necessary to have home nebs have strict instuctions on their asthma plan of what they actually need to do. I also understand that as there are several medications used for the treatment of asthma these possibiliyies all need to be explored first b4 resorting to treatment that in several cases is best given under the supervision of medical personal due to the speed in which an asthmatic can deteroiate.

  • Just adding something else here as I think some are getting confussed oxygen will not cure an asthma attack, there is no sitting on it for longer cos it does not work like that. You can drive nebs at 15 litres of O2 and it is still not going work any better than driving the neb at 15 litres of air. Walking around all day with 2 litres of O2 blowing up your nose will not stop your asthma or make it any better. Some people have O2 at home cos they can't keep their saturations up without it. Some have it cos when in attack they drop their sats so fast that whilst they wait for an ambulence they use it. But you can't sit on O2 and not go in. Oxygen is not a releiver or a substitute for salbutamol/bricanyl it is used for some people with quite specific and well investigated problems in addition to their ashtma.

    Clarified to add: you will get O2 as part of your treatment in hospital but it is to keep your saturations up not to open your airways that is done by salbutamol/atrovent/bricanyl.


  • Good point, Bex. After all, there's a fair bit of oxygen in the atmosphere - if it stopped asthma attacks, no-one would have one!

  • My experience from O2-dependance is 'moderation in all things'- even Oxygen!

    Too much can cause severe eye damage as the rods/cones will begin to grow back into themselves causing permanent blindness & an excess of oxygen can kill you.

    O2 is used when oxyhaemoglobin levels are too low by breathing alone- I have used both O2 alone and with a ventilator which itself can weaken your heart. Seriously as with all meds it's not something to be played around with, nor is it a miracle cure.

    There are hundreds of other options for asthma before oxygen :) x

  • I have severe asthma that requires oxygen when I sleep.

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