Can you cook when on oxygen therapy? - British Lung Foun...

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Can you cook when on oxygen therapy?


Hi. My mum has just been diagnosed with COPD and is on oxygen therapy 24 hours a day. The oxygen company have told her that she can't go in the kitchen at all as there is a as hob (electric oven). She was also told not to switch a kettle on. Even if she takes her oxygen off he said that there will be oxygen around her body for about 20 minutes. She feels totally constrained. Is there any way that she can switch a kettle on? Should we buy an induction hob? How do people manage? Is the oxygen company being overly cautious? Obviously she would not cook with a gas hob whilst using her oxygen but what can she do? Only microwave? Any advice would be gratefully received - she has had no practical help at all yet on how to live with this. Thanks very much.

13 Replies

I have suffered with COPD for some 27 years now and been on oxygen for at least the past 16 and I can assure you I have never had any problem inputting the kettle on to make a cup of tea. I do not use my gas cooker but only due to being fortunate in having a wonderful partner who has overtaken all the cooking. Using oxygen around open flame is asking for trouble as its is highly flammable. Could she make use of the local meals on wheels service if she lives alone? I cannot think of another way around the problem.


Is you mother on continuous or pulse delivery, the former presents a greater risk because oxygen is being delivered on the exhale as well as the inhaler.

The issue with oxygen is that it makes things more inflammable on account of it being pressurised enriched oxygen.

The general rule is avoid naked flames and petroleum products.

I can understand certain cookers even electric but not such as kettles.

See if your mother can use pulse delivery system .

I use Ambulitory oxygen on pulse, and use the kitchen,

When I had the fire brigade risk assessment, the only mention was the gas cooker, which I no longer have.

The oxygen company would generalise the advice rather than as a individual.

Common sense would be my rule of thumb.

If your mother can manger without oxygen for a short period then that may be the answer, but your mothers health and safety comes first.

NHS view

Hi Rose-UK as a fellow oxygen user (ambulatory), the dangers of using oxygen in the home were explained and are prety much as you say. I was never told not to switch a kettle on though and personally that seems a bit over cautious. Oxygen does cling to your clothing for about 20mins after use, so you should give time for it to disperse before doing any cooking.

We have a gas cooker, electric kettle, electric toaster etc and I use them all without any problems. You shouldn't need to replace any of your cooking implements.

You should have been given a Home Oxygen Handbook when they first issued your oxygen. Have a read through the Safety section and it might put your mind at rest.


Wow I am surprised I am still alive I go in the kitchen all the time and it never occurred to me about our stove the only thing I was told was about smoking

I am on oxygen and I always use my ambulatory pulse oxygen in the kitchen I use all of the equipment in there being extra careful when using the hob and the oven (both electric). I have been doing this for a few years without incidence.

take care

polly xx

I am on LTOT and often wander around my flat attached as it were. I only have electric appliances and have used them all quite safely over the past 17 years I have been on oxy. In fact just fried myself some mushrooms and egg for b/fast - delicious, although I should not really eat mushrooms. Common sense and care are the only requisites.

Thanks very much for all of the helpful advice. I think she is on continuous oxygen at the moment (using a converter most of the time except for oxygen cannisters if she goes outside) but she is only came out of hospital three weeks ago and we are waiting to have a visit from the respiratory nurse and I guess that it is possible that things will change. I think that the oxygen cannisters are on pulse but the converter might be continuous. In any case we have plenty of questions for the nurse. She will be very careful but I think she might feel more confident now at least to make a cup of tea!

Thanks again.

stone-UK in reply to Rose-UK


Love the attitude, house can burn down but we will have that cup of tea, mines coffee 😀😃😄

Loraine121 in reply to Rose-UK

Wish your mum good luck , with anything new it takes time , I was frightened to go out side incase I walked past someone smoking, it just takes time to get used to,

The post i posted just before I thought it was your mother sorry I'm not wearing my glasses,

Good luck don't worry too much,

Hi i have only recentlybeen on 24/7 oxygen but I was advised that I can cook if I feel up to it and I have a gas cooker, I was told that if I took take oxygen of while cooking and change my cloths first as the become oxygen saturated if you have had same cloths on all day , but as far as switching on the kettle and basic daily things you will be fine , if that was the case I would not be able to go out on my electric mobility scooter. I think you have been advised by someone very over conscious, I switch lights on and live as normal as possible, obously going near knacked flames is not advised but I was told if I had an electric cooker I wouldn't have to take my oxygen of .

I have only had mine since October and I am still adjusting to having it on constantly and getting organised to go out but the more I do things the easier it becomes,

You do have to be careful but you can still do what you would normally to an extent,

I hope you get on better and I'm sure others will also be able to put your mind at rest.

Take care

Loraine x

Hi - I'm on oxygen and live alone so need to cook for myself. I use the kettle, toaster and microwave while wearing my oxygen without worrying. I have an electric cooker which I use aprox once a week - just to be on the safe side I take my oxygen off before using it. I would never risk using gas, or having any sort of flame in the house ( or candles). Strictly speaking we shouldn't use things like toasters/hairdryers etc while wearing oxygen because there is the small chance of a spark igniting our hair or clothing - but I just ensure that I don't lean over the toaster, and I either let my hair dry naturally or leave my oxygen off while using the hair dryer. It's mostly common sense -ie. keep away from naked flames and be careful when cooking even with electric.

Wow learned a lot today my oxygen machine arrives Monday. Guess I need to buy a new cooker (electric). Have gas at the minute. Well hob is gas so new hob eh! X thank you as always informative.

Hello everyone and God bless you all. I have copd and been on 24/7 oxygen for 6yrs. I go to temple lung center in Pa. and that is suppose to be one of the best, but my pulmonary doctor never told me anything about cooking with my oxygen on, and common sense should have told me. I recently started going to a second doctor and he asked me if I cook at home. He said that it was not safe, and yet I cook almost everyday, sometimes two and three times a day and it still never occurred to me until he told me that! Wow, you talk about God's grace and mercy, it sure is all around me. I live in a house with men, who will cook for them?

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