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Oxygen Therapy In Patients With Pneumonia

Oxygen Therapy In Patients With Pneumonia
Kevin Cleary

Reviewed by Laura Castricone, Respiratory Therapist, on September 8, 2022

Introduction    |     Symptoms    |     Treatment   |     Oxygen Therapy   |     FAQs

Breathing is perhaps the most essential physiological process. Any issue with your lungs affects the quality of your life and impacts your overall well-being. One such grave issue that can trouble your lungs is pneumonia. Imagine trying to breathe, but with each breath, you can feel pain and discomfort. Pneumonia affects approximately 450 million people globally and can cost millions in healthcare costs. Pneumonia can cause our lungs to reduce the amount of oxygen delivered to the body through our red blood cells. It is common to treat bacterial pneumonia with antibiotics while viral pneumonia can receive other treatments such as breathing treatments or oxygen therapy to increase pneumonia oxygen saturation levels in the blood.

What is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is an infection caused by bacteria or viruses that can enter the lungs while one inhales. Normally, this infection does not affect the health much and is treated in 2-3 weeks, but if one has underlying health issues, such as asthma or COPD, the lungs and the entire body have a much tougher time fighting off these foreign pathogens. As a matter of fact, Pneumonia causes inflammation of the lung parenchyma which affects the alveoli and the transfer of oxygen to red blood cells. The air sacs present in the lungs solidify due to the pus filled in them and causing inflammation.

What is Pneumonia?


What are the early signs and symptoms of Pneumonia?

Pneumonia symptoms can be acute and can materialize suddenly. They include:

  • A cough that produces mucus from the lungs or even blood
  • Chest pain that is aggravated by coughing or inhaling
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Chills

These symptoms can be a sign of infection in the lungs that inflames the air sacs in one or both lungs and can make it difficult to fully expand during inhalation. Often pneumonia can be treated at home, but underlying health issues can create a more dangerous situation and may require hospitalization. Take my word for it; this is not something to be taken lightly!!

Treatment for Pneumonia

At what stage do pneumonia patients need oxygen therapy?

Most people treat the early stage of pneumonia at home by controlling their fever, drinking lots of fluids, staying away from smoke, taking steamy baths, and using humidifiers. But when coughing and other symptoms become severe and are incontrollable, one must visit a medical expert. Taking medications as prescribed by a health professional is important. Generally, bacterial pneumonia is treated with antibiotics and for viral pneumonia, the health expert may prescribe an antiviral medication treatment. In most cases, pneumonia can be treated with symptoms management and rest but when pneumonia is so severe that a patient needs to get hospitalized, in addition to IV fluids and antibiotics, supplemented oxygen therapy and possibly other breathing treatments are also given.

How to diagnose if a patient suffering from pneumonia needs oxygen therapy?

The need for oxygen therapy is diagnosed by checking the oxygen saturation levels in pneumonia patients. Our lungs take in air and transfer oxygen to our red blood cells to be circulated throughout our body. It is the oxygen saturation in our arterial blood that determines if we need to intake additional oxygen. This saturation rate can be measured by a pulse oximeter. When the transfer of oxygen is hindered by bacteria, the use of oxygen therapy for pneumonia can help introduce oxygen into our bloodstream.

What kind of breathing treatment is given for pneumonia?

Breathing treatment for pneumonia is all about oxygen supplementation. Oxygen supplementation can be provided in two ways-

  1. Nasal Cannulas – Oxygen therapy via oxygen concentrators, oxygen cylinders, and oxygen conservers that use nasal cannulas as the conduit for oxygen therapy
  2. Mechanical Ventilation – Life-supporting ventilation by attaching a windpipe or a nasal mask using a ventilator.

How to treat Pneumonia with Supplemental Oxygen Therapy?

Oxygen therapy can be given to treat pneumonia via several medical aids that include:

1. DeVilbiss iFill Oxygen Cylinders

DeVilbiss iFill oxygen cylinders are compatible with the DeVilbiss iFill personal oxygen station and are available in various sizes to meet all supplemental oxygen therapy needs of patients. Each size is available with 870 Post Valve, Continuous Flow, or Pulse Dose Oxygen Conserving Device options. In conjunction with the oxygen station, the user can use the surrounding air to fill the oxygen cylinders. This makes refilling oxygen cylinders easier and gives the user greater freedom and independence.

Features of DeVilbiss iFill oxygen cylinders:

  • High-Pressure Oxygen Cylinder with Portability
  • PulseDose Indication each time when the unit pulses oxygen
  • Oxygen Contents Gauge to indicate the remaining pressure in the oxygen cylinder
  • Cannula Fitting to attach the cannula to the iFill cylinder
  • Rotary selector for prescription settings
  • Battery indicator for LOW, NORMAL, and CHANGE BATTERY indications.
Discount on DeVilbiss iFill Oxygen Cylinders
DeVilbiss iFill Oxygen Cylinders

2. Invacare HomeFill Post Valve Cylinders

Compatible with the Invacare HomeFill oxygen compressor, Invacare HomeFill CGA870 Post Valve Cylinders can be filled at the convenience of the user. They are designed for those who need oxygen treatment for pneumonia and are on the go. Made from aluminum, these oxygen cylinders are used by patients who have a tough time extracting oxygen from the air they breathe and for use with CGA870 post valve compatible conservators or regulators.

Features of Invacare HomeFill Oxygen Compressor

  • Patient protection ensures oxygen purity in the cylinder is always greater than 90%
  • No extra equipment is needed because patients can breathe off the concentrator while filling cylinders
  • Provides an unlimited refillable ambulatory oxygen supply
  • Encourages compliance with oxygen therapy as patients have no worries about running out of oxygen
  • The system is compatible with 5-liter or 10-liter concentrators and a wide variety of cylinder options
Buy Invacare HomeFill CGA870 Post Valve Cylinders Deals on Invacare HomeFill Oxygen Compressor
Invacare HomeFill CGA870 Post Valve Cylinders Invacare HomeFill Oxygen Compressor

3. Invacare Perfecto2 Oxygen Concentrator

When pneumonia treatment requires a patient to utilize supplemental oxygen, Perfecto2 indoor oxygen concentrator separates nitrogen from the surrounding air to provide a high concentration of oxygen via a nasal cannula directly. The oxygen purity of this unit is 87%-95.6% at all flow rates while incorporating three separate filters to purify the air.

Features of Invacare Perfecto2 V Oxygen Concentrator

  • Features top handle for ease of mobility
  • The pressure-based system which is superior to timing-based systems
  • Self-diagnostic electronics minimize troubleshooting time
  • Sieve-GARD Monitor protects sieve from degradation
  • SensO2 oxygen monitor and low flow alarm
  • Three separate filters assure oxygen purity
Invacare Perfecto2 V Five Liter Oxygen Concentrator With SensO2 Oxygen Sensor​
Invacare Perfecto2 V Five Liter Oxygen Concentrator With SensO2 Oxygen Sensor​

4. Salter Style Oxygen Cannula

For those who are dependent upon oxygen therapy to deal with pneumonia, comfort is the key to patient compliance. This clear, lightweight Salter Style 1600 Series Nasal Oxygen Cannula features a unique, one-piece design which maximizes patient comfort. In order to provide secure positioning and maximizing freedom of movement, it has an over the ear design with curved, tapered nasal prongs for a better anatomical fit and comfort. The three channel safety tubing provides uninterrupted oxygen flow and the curved tubing fits the upper lip and is perfect for long-term use.

Features of Salter 1600 Series Oxygen Cannula

  • Curved, tapered nasal prongs for improved anatomical fit for increased comfort
  • Over-the-ear style headset of Nasal Oxygen Cannula provides secure positioning
  • 3-channel safety tubing for uninterrupted flow of oxygen
  • Better comfort for long-term use
  • Curved tubing to fit upper lip
Salter Style 1600 Series Adult Clear Nasal Oxygen Cannula Buy Salter Style 1600 Series Adult Clear Nasal Oxygen Cannula
Salter Style 1600 Series Adult Clear Nasal Oxygen Cannula

5. Precision Medical EasyPulse Portable Oxygen Concentrator

EasyPulse Portable Oxygen Concentrator provides supplemental oxygen to ambulatory patients requiring oxygen therapy. Wherever you are, the EasyPulse POC provides continuous delivery of pure oxygen without worrying about running out of oxygen or carrying heavy tanks around.

Features of EasyPulse POC

  • 5litre portable concentrator with pulse dose delivery mode
  • Whisper-quiet operation
  • CMV Technology
  • Excellent Battery Life
  • FAA approved for use on commercial airlines
Invacare Platinum Mobile Oxygen Concentrator On Discount
Precision Medical EasyPulse Portable Oxygen Concentrator

6. Drive SmartDose Oxygen Conserver

Drive SmartDose Mini Auto Adjusting Oxygen Conserver automatically senses the breath rate of the user and adjusts the oxygen flow accordingly. This gives the user peace of mind knowing that their supplemental oxygen therapy for pneumonia is always spot on. This conserver produces an operating pressure range of 500-3000 psi and allows patients to ambulate longer than with a continuous flow regulator on the same cylinder. It eliminates wastage and maximizes oxygen for pneumonia patients.

Features of Drive SmartDose Adjusting Oxygen Concentrator

  • Achieves maximum conservation efficiency by automatically adjusting the dose down at lower activity levels
  • Senses patient breathing patterns, and adjusts the preset rest setting higher by up to 2 settings as needed to best match dose to need
  • Can use 2 AA Alkaline batteries for a duration of about one year for most patients
  • Delivers a quiet, gentle dose of oxygen using an efficient, compact design
  • Delivers a uniform pulse dose increments 1,2,3,4,5 plus CF preset at 2 LPM 
Buy Drive SmartDose Mini Auto Adjusting Oxygen Conserver On Sale
Drive SmartDose Mini Auto Adjusting Oxygen Conserver

How to choose the right oxygen therapy device for pneumonia?

There is no doubt that oxygen therapy helps in pneumonia and other respiratory issues. A patient may feel relieved with oxygen therapy but it is very important to understand a few things before you choose the right source of oxygen therapy. These are:

  1. If you are suffering from pneumonia and experiencing breathing issues, consult your health expert first and get your oxygen therapy prescription with your medical professional’s instructions on how to use it
  2. Understand your need of using the oxygen therapy devices at home or on-the-go
  3. Before buying the oxygen-therapy device ensure the following points -
  • Consult your medical help on how much supplemental or additional or extra oxygen your body needs &bull
  • Do you need it all the time or for a particular time of the day or doing a specific activity?
  • Your therapy device must comply with your lifestyle and routine
  • Medical coverage or insurance to decide on the affordability 

Are oxygen concentrators a better solution for breathing therapy for pneumonia patients?

Patients seeking treatment for pneumonia might require oxygen therapy constantly. Oxygen concentrators work on the technology that extracts O2 from the air without a limit as long as there is air. O2 concentrators are less expensive than oxygen tanks or cylinders. Thus, it makes oxygen therapy via an oxygen concentrator a better treatment option for pneumonia.

Things to remember while getting oxygen therapy for pneumonia at home:

  • Never change the “oxygen flow rate” on your oxygen delivery device without consulting with your healthcare provider as it should be set by a medical professional only
  • Get clear instructions on the user manual of your oxygen therapy device from the dealer. Never start using the device without reading and more importantly understanding the functioning and precautionary warnings of any oxygen concentrator or conserver
  • Call your healthcare expert when you face even a minor issue in breathing through the oxygen therapy device.

Oxygen is quintessential for humans and when our breathing produces less oxygen for our red blood cells problems can arise. Bacterial pneumonia can be life-threatening, so treating it properly is imperative. Work with your doctor to prescribe the proper oxygen therapy you need to match your lifestyle and overcome pneumonia or any other respiratory illness. You might feel uncomfortable using the oxygen therapy initially but with the correct use and care you will get through the discomfort soon. HPFY is always here to guide and help you through your health issues.

Hyperbaric Therapy for Pneumonia

Pneumonia is a serious ailment and may result in grave consequences if not treated at the earliest. Therapy with repeated HBO2 sessions prevents admission to the intensive care unit with mechanical ventilation in elderly patients showing signs and symptoms of respiratory problems. Experts opine that pneumonia patients can benefit from hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBOT). It is considered the most powerful oxygenation modality in the body at present. Subsequently, HBOT dramatically increases dissolved O2 levels in the blood and promotes blood transport and tissue delivery.

Hyperbaric Chamber Therapy has specific immuno-modulatory properties (humoral and cellular), making it possible to decrease the gravity of the inflammatory response and stimulate antioxidant defenses by repeating sessions. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy also has virucidal (capacity to destroy a virus) capacity and is generally safe with very few adverse events.

FAQs for oxygen therapy in pneumonia

1. Is oxygen therapy safe for pneumonia?

Yes, oxygen therapy is safe for pneumonia as long as you are-

  • Taking it under the regular guidance and consultation of your medical expert and,
  • Following all the safety measures to use the oxygen device. The instructions are mentioned in the manual provided by the manufacturer.

2. Is it safe to take oxygen therapy near a heat source?

No, it is strictly prohibited and you must avoid it. Always keep your oxygen tank or cylinder away from an open flame or any heat source as oxygen supports combustion and it might cause fire accidents.

3. How much oxygen do you give a patient with pneumonia?

Your health professional will prescribe you how much oxygen you need. You should carry a pulse oximeter to measure your oxygen saturation it will help you to keep your oxygen level in check that it doesn't drop to a dangerously low level.

4. Is it okay to smoke while undergoing oxygen therapy for pneumonia?

No, in any case, smoking should be stopped if you are suffering from pneumonia. Also, keep everything flammable, such as – petroleum, aerosols, electric devices, or even the smoking area, away from the oxygen therapy device.

5. How to store or place the oxygen unit?

It depends on the type and size of your device. Follow the usage and storage instructions on the manual for the same or contact your dealer for clarification.

6. How oxygen therapy is different for the elderly or kids suffering from pneumonia?

Severe pneumonia is dangerous for people above a certain age limit as it causes breathing issues and chest pain. Oxygen therapy for the elderly and children who are suffering from pneumonia must be strict as per the medical professional’s instructions.

Where to buy Oxygen Therapy Treatment Aids for Pneumonia?

Health Products For You offers a wide range of oxygen therapy products and other respiratory treatment aids at the best prices available online. HPFY believes in serving its customers top-notch quality products within the quickest time span. Our customer-centric approach has made us popular and reliable amongst our clientele. Shop with us and get exciting discounts on every purchase you make.


Disclaimer: All content found on our website, including images, videos, infographics and text were created solely for informational purposes. Our content should never be used for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Content shared on our websites is not meant to be used as a substitute for advice from a certified medical professional. Reliance on the information provided on our website as a basis for patient treatment is solely at your own risk. We urge all our customers to always consult a physician or a certified medical professional before trying or using a new medical product.


HPFY Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary has been a Health Products For You contributor for many years and has a degree in marketing. His health and wellness journey has a very personal meaning and has guided him in his content writing for HPFY.

In 2006, ...

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