Winter is here. For many its a time to get excited for all the festivities as we warm up for spending time with loved ones, take a break or have some time out to see out the end of another (tough) year. But for many it can anticipate worry, anxiety and even cause for concern if you have a respiratory disease such as asthma, COPD or bronchitis. Many will be short of breath, coughing more or even not wanting to leave the house to avoid worsening conditions especially in times where coughing and having a cold makes many even more wary with Covid-19.
The best advice is to Keep Warm and to Keep Active. These two elements will help you be less severe and stay away from worsening your conditions. And the most important piece of advice is if you are unwell please do speak with you GP or doctor for further advice. Leaving the house may give many anxiety but a short walk in your local area and getting fresh air is so important for your physical and mental health.
Staying warm is important to keep your body temperature up. Carefully plan your ability to keep you house warm, wear extra layers of clothing and even thick socks and long-sleeved tops. Moving about will help to keep your temperature warm and strengthen those lungs which is very important at this time of year. You may be travelling this winter to visit or be with your family so please do speak with our team for advice and arrangements to allow you one less thing to worry about when arranging medical oxygen on holiday.
You may have heard this in the UK press recently and wondering what this means? This loophole has been discovered for UK residents who own second homes. Many UK residents have holiday homes or second homes across Europe such as Spain, France and Italy. Lots of UK residents who have enjoyed their time split between being close to loved ones in the UK and also enjoying an extended holiday or summer months in warmer climates over the years.
The last 12 months has meant many have not been able to enjoy this as flights or travel was not permitted. Now the UK prepares to ease lockdown with its roadmap planned out there is a loophole for all those second home owners, but what is it?
All UK residents can travel to their second home if the reason is to prepare it for sale or rental reasons. This will come into force this week on step 1 of the latest roadmap allowing certain reasons to travel.
You may be wondering why it is called the ‘Stanley Johnson Loophole’ and it is connected to Boris Johnson’s father who travelled to his Greek villa to make it ‘COVID-proof’ which breached the guidelines at the time in summer 2020.
Below is what has been published that is an appropriate reason to travel to your second home:
– Visiting an estate agent – Visiting a show home – Viewing a property or several – Preparing to move into a property – If you need to travel for study – If you are participating in an elite sport event
Currently travel from the UK carries a fine if rules are broken and although summer holidays for many now seems to not include getting on a plane to another country; will this loophole if still allowed mean for some they will be able to hop on a plane and get to their second home to prepare, buy or sell a property?
Those autumnal vibes are really starting to kick in now and it gives many of us the appetite to explore the great outdoors! If you spent the last few months not travelling then maybe now it is a chance to get a small trip in from a local night away, city break or week long adventure – the choice is yours.
Here are the 3 top places which you can travel to in Europe right now:
Cyprus – Here you do need to provide a negative COVID test 3 days prior if from the UK, but you can still travel here and enjoy the great east Mediterranean winter sun right now. This is a great choice if you are looking for some last-minute warmth plus of the mythical beauty and history.
Germany – there are no regulations from the EU so this makes the perfect place to travel to and explore its culture and many choices. From mountains and rivers to beaches and great beer! The choice is yours to discover somewhere new this autumn.
Italy – Full of beautiful and stunning areas it may be hard to choose and of course the great dining culture makes a perfect place to enjoy, relax and explore. From small towns and clifftop villages to the more well known regions you are spoilt for choice not to forget great vineyards and pasta!
Please note most countries update their lists weekly so please do check before booking on all travel requirements and regulations or restrictions depending on what country you are departing from.
To have our help with arranging your next adventure with medical oxygen – please just get in touch by phone, email or via our website here
Travelling with oxygen by car or other forms of transportation may seem intimidating. With a little planning, it can be easy, and safely, done. Travelling with portable oxygen by Aeroplane, by Cruise ship, by Car, by Train can be done without any stress when you know how. Here are a list of popular destinations that people travel to for holidays.
What to Do…
DO allow time to make arrangements for your oxygen needs when travelling long distance, especially if it will be by plane. Each airline has their own policies and procedures for travelling with oxygen. If travelling by car or train, you might need to arrange both portable and a more long-lasting oxygen supply.
DO carry your portable tank only in the case supplied with it.
DO keep your oxygen delivery system out of the bright sunlight or other heat sources.
DO bring extra batteries to power your concentrator in case of emergency.
DO be aware that high altitudes, whether flying or just driving in the mountains, can increase your need for supplemental oxygen.
What not to Do…
DON’T overlook the fact that portable oxygen tanks can only carry a finite amount of oxygen.
DON’T put a portable tank inside a backpack or other carry bag.
DON’T place your tank, cylinder or portable concentrator in a car trunk or other tightly enclosed space.
Rutger Berntsen, founder of international company, OxygenWorldwide has designed and named the M.O.V described as a body warmer vest that was based upon the principles of a portable oxygen concentrator (POC). This medical oxygen vest contains the necessary equipment to provide medical oxygen to the wearer. The vest would be ideal for oxygen users who require a constant supply of medical oxygen and the life line of being able to be mobile and freely move around without the constraints of a more conventional oxygen device. The M.O.V is designed for e.g. young children or active sport users to give the ability to move around more freely such as going to play a game of golf or running around in the playground.
A portable oxygen concentrator (POC) is normally carried around by means of a shoulder strap. This is not convenient when one has to make movements beyond normal walking. The main advantage of the M.O.V. is that the weight of the equipment in the vest is equally divided over two sides located under the arm pits. The fact that the equipment is ‘concealed’ inside the vest could take away the burden of having to carry around a medical device, which to many medical oxygen users indicates the appearance that you are in fact a ‘patient’. Flexible solar panels are placed on the chest and back of the vest to provide (at this stage) power to the display panel. To make the system fully operational the batteries should (at this stage) be charged by plugging into a AC outlet.
For more information and/or a 3D animation contact: email@example.com
Home Oxygen Therapy is a medical treatment for patients suffering from chronic lung diseases. It involves the use of an oxygen concentrator to deliver oxygen via a nasal cannula or face mask to the patient and some may require being tethered to the machine on a constant basis. COPD is an umbrella term for these conditions and patients have restricted airflow through the lungs and experience coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. The effect on quality of life can be significant and some are unable to participate in physical activities and require help to move. Home oxygen therapy aims to improve the patient’s freedom, health and quality of life by allowing treatment at home. Patients are encouraged to try and maintain a certain level of activity as research has shown that if exercise and mobility are retained then lung capacity and respiration improves.
However some patients find this difficult as they are tethered to a pressurized oxygen container via tubing and the weight, which is typically 4kg, can make transporting and lifting awkward especially for the more elderly patients. Some patients use a small hand cart to transport their equipment around or use a portable unit which they can carry over their shoulder. Despite the huge benefits of H.O.T it still imposes restrictions on the user’s movements, mobility, ability to participate in certain activities and quality of life.
A Follower Robot has been devised to help improve these patient’s lives. The robot can carry the equipment thereby reducing the physical burden and increasing freedom of movement. It is capable of following the patient’s movements and can follow behind the patient. It is simple to use, low weight, compact and at a low cost.
They have started testing these robots on H.O.T users to see if they are indeed beneficial and can aid them in their daily activities efficiently. Most users have found the robot easy to use and to manoeuvre with. It is hoped that after more trials are completed it can be manufactured and sold commercially for COPD patients. These robots could drastically improve patient’s lives allowing them to easily move around and enjoy more out of life which could have a positive effect on their health also. More importantly, how amazing would it be to have your own robot?!
References: www.robomechjournal.com and http://link.springer.com
Whatever stage your respiratory disease may be at, preventing flare-ups is highly important to ensure you stay as healthy as possible and to keep your breathing as easy as possible. This means you need to be aware of the triggers and eliminating any exposure to cigarette smoke, fire smoke, dust, chemicals, excessive wind and pollution. Breathing can also be difficult at temperatures around or below freezing, above 90 degrees F, or on days with high humidity, ozone levels or pollen counts.
Many patients have a component of asthma and some prefer warm, dry climates whereas others may prefer more humid environments.
Extreme hot or cold conditions can put stress on the entire body. In order to maintain a constant body temperature, you exert additional energy to warm or cool it down. This additional energy requirement also increases the amount of oxygen that your body is using. Breathing hot or cold air can also have a drying or irritating effect on the airway causing bronchospasm (contraction of the smooth muscle that surrounds the airway). This decreases the size of the airway and makes it more difficult to get the air in and out of the lung, increasing shortness of breath.
In general most patients find that they prefer minimal humidity levels of about 40%. This is also true of indoor humidity levels which can be difficult to maintain throughout the year, if it is a hot summer or a cold winter with the heating on. You can purchase a humidifier that works with your heating system or independent units for single rooms. De-humidifiers can also be purchased to help lower the humidity in certain rooms.
High indoor humidity is often also the source of mould growth in the home which is another trigger, as well as an increase in common indoor air pollutants like dust mites, cockroaches, bacteria and viruses. Also as humidity increases, the density of the air increases. This more dense air creates more resistance to airflow in the airway, resulting in an increased work of breathing (i.e. more shortness of breath).
Look out for common signs of high humidity:
• flooding or rainwater leaks from the roof or basement/crawl space
• poorly connected pipes or leaky pipes under sinks or in showers
• carpet that remains damp
• poorly ventilated bathrooms and kitchens
• condensation build-up from humidifiers and dehumidifiers, air conditioners, and drip pans under refrigerators/freezers
Here are some helpful pointers for when it is hot, although many are applicable to other weather conditions as well:
1. Drink plenty of fluids, fairly obvious for Australians, but please take into account if you have a fluid restriction.
2. Wear appropriate clothing and sunscreen.
3. Plan your activities carefully. Try to organise your activities or exercise for the coolest times of the day – early in the morning, or in the evening. When driving, park in shady areas if possible, and choose places to go that are air conditioned. Place sun protectors in your car when it is parked.
4. Keep cool, indoors. Use your air-conditioner if you have one and remember you do not need it to be freezing cold. A second benefit of the air conditioner is that it removes a great deal of humidity from the air as it cools it. If an air conditioner is not available, use fans and open windows to circulate the air during hot days. Special programmes are available in many places.
5. Use the buddy system. This means making sure that someone contacts you at least twice a day to check that you are OK.
6. Avoid rigorous exercise or excess activity.
7. Take your medications as directed.
8. Pay attention to weather reports.
References: www.healthline.com and http://lungfoundation.com and https://rotech.com
Portable oxygen concentrators have started a revolution in the medical oxygen industry, with their use having sky-rocketed over the last five-10 years. Industry experts are optimistic about the future of portable oxygen and that patients will be able to get hold of even better equipment in the future to make their lives as close to normal as technology can allow.
Portable oxygen technology is ever-evolving and improving, with POCs at the heart of it. This is driven by the increasing demand for these devices which in turn has been driven by an increase in diagnosed sufferers requiring oxygen therapy, improved availability and increased affordability. These factors are constantly driving down costs for the industry, allowing them to reinvest to improve devices whose demand then continues to help grow the industry and improve it. However it seems these advancements will come with a little give and take.
Patients and doctors want smaller, lighter, quieter devices that also have a higher oxygen output and a longer battery life. The providers also want in addition more durability, reliability and all at a lower cost.
As with other technologies if you move in one direction to improve a singular feature it often has an negative impact on another and getting the balance is difficult.
The patient is the final target audience and their requirement for freedom will be the ultimate guidance for the future of oxygen technology. They require the freedom to easily fly, drive or boat and do daily activities without worrying about running out of oxygen. Freedom also comes from not waiting on deliveries from the oxygen supplier and all this provides patients with the chance to feel normal again.
A main inhibiting factor on their advancement is the highly competitive nature that the industry has evolved into. This has led to providers dramatically lowering prices in order to maintain market share, which is highly beneficial to the patient however it leaves less money available for re-investment into research to drive improvements. With the steep increasing trend of COPD diagnosis around the world it seems there will be an ever-increasing amount of patients and therefore providers seeking to purchase POC’s which will then still allow for re-investment.
It is hoped that the units will become smaller and lighter with increased battery life which is very important as the current units are not as portal as they could be for end-stage COPD patients.
It is agreed that ‘POCs are still in their genesis’ but the ultimate goal is so that the POC is also the primary oxygen concentrator, so you would only need the one unit.
Making something increasingly portable also brings along other problems and the unit then needs to be made increasingly durable and resistant to banging and dropping and other associated hazards. Replacing a bolt or armrest on a wheelchair is a lot easier and less of an inconvenience to the user than replacing a part in a POC.
Future oxygen technologies will continue to be focused on medically accurate and improved oxygen therapy and delivery/recycling methods but also incorporate much more software and intelligence in the design and lighter weight models. In order for companies to drive down costs more of a focus may also be put on patient maintenance and repair so that parts can be cleaned or replaced easily by the patient and not having to send the unit back and forth to the manufacturer.