For those with diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema or chronic bronchitis, supplemental medical oxygen is a necessity. If you have ever tried to travel with supplemental oxygen, you know how difficult this can be. Being prepared, and knowing how to travel safely with oxygen and where to obtain oxygen at your final destination is vital.
Always check with your doctor and your oxygen company before traveling.
Safety is a very important issue when traveling by car, as an oxygen tank can become a dangerous projectile in an accident. It is crucial to secure the unit. Your oxygen company can provide you with information about safe ways to store and protect your particular oxygen unit in a vehicle.
Portable oxygen concentrators — which form oxygen by extracting and separating it from the surrounding air, and deliver it through a nasal cannula — may be stored in any position, but they should be padded to protect them from impact.
Small cylinder tanks holding compressed oxygen in gas form can also be stowed in any position, but the valve on top and the liter flow knob must be protected from collision through use of a seatbelt, webbing or other such device.
All unit types should be protected from heat, so they should not be stored in a car’s trunk, where extreme heat build-up can occur. In case of a fire, additional oxygen causes a fire to burn more rapidly, so always keep a car window open at least a crack to prevent the accumulation of more than the normal amount of oxygen. When refilling oxygen tanks at an outdoor facility, always remove the tanks from your car and place them in a well-ventilated area.
Travel by airplane also takes a good amount of research and preparation. No airline will allow you to bring aboard your own oxygen cylinder, but many airlines have medical oxygen cylinders available for a fee for use on their planes, such as Alaska Airlines, British Airways, Continental, Delta and Japan Airlines. The oxygen containers used on airplanes vary from airline to airline.
You must make arrangements to provide your own oxygen to and from the airplane. It is helpful to have someone take you to the airport and allow him or her to take your tank home.
Many airlines, such as Alaska Airlines, Delta, Frontier and Southwest, now allow travelers to bring aboard their own portable oxygen concentrators, but the airlines permit only the brands Inogen One or AirSep LifeStyle.
You must have enough fully charged batteries to last the entire flight and to allow for possible delays, as electricity will not be provided on the airplane. The way in which extra batteries must be stored varies from airline to airline. Contact your airline to obtain their regulations for battery storage.
You will also need to contact your airline to learn their requirements for advance notification of your need for medical oxygen. Many airlines will need a letter from your physician in advance of the flight, so they can contact him or her to verify liter flow. The letter should have a date of no more than one year prior to the flight (some airlines require a letter dated no more than 10 days prior to the flight), stating the amount of oxygen needed and the flow rate, adjusted to cabin pressure.
It is important to make advance arrangements for the delivery of oxygen to the airport of your destination. Almost all airlines require a 48-hour advance notice for domestic flights, and airlines can require up to 72 hours advance notice for international travel.
Many cruise lines allow you to bring your own oxygen, and they allow all types. Some will accept deliveries from medical-supply companies, while others only allow certain companies to deliver. You will need to contact the customer service department of the cruise line for the regulations on each ship.
When traveling by train, contact the customer service department to obtain regulations about traveling with medical oxygen.
In Europe, the rules and regulations for oxygen use on Eurail vary from country to country. There is no one place to find the information for a trip that takes you from country to country. Your best bet is to contact the customer service department of the railroad in each country you will be traveling through. You can find this information on the Eurail Website.
Being well prepared will make your travels much more enjoyable.
AirSep exec wins National Medal of Technology and Innovation
Norman McCombs, a University at Buffaloalumnus and executive at Amherst-basedAirSep Corp., has been awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the U.S. government’s highest honor for technological achievement.
McCombs, who lives in Tonawanda, “developed an oxygen production system that spawned a billion dollar industry and helped ease the pain of millions suffering from lung diseases,” according to a release issued by UB. He is AirSep’s senior vice president of research and development.
President Obama will present the medal to McCombs and other award winners at a Feb. 1 ceremony at the White House.
The award is administered for the White House by the U.S. Department of Commerce’sPatent and Trademark Office and recognizes those “who have made lasting contributions to America’s competitiveness and quality of life and helped strengthen the nation’s technological workforce,” according to a White House statement.
McCombs is the third person with UB ties to receive the medal. Former engineering professor Esther Takeuchi was honored in 2007 for developing a battery used to power implantable cardiac defibrillators. Wilson Greatbatch, founder of Greatbatch Inc. and a UB alumnus and faculty member, received the award in 1990.
McCombs developed a method of separating gases that produces oxygen, leading to a device called an oxygen concentrator, which is used to treat people suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. There are currently about 1.2 million oxygen concentrators in the U.S. alone, a more than $2 billion industry.
Dan Miner is Business First’s enterprise reporter. He also covers education and public companies.
How does an Oxygen Concentrator work?
An Oxygen Concentrator uses the ambient air, which is normally 80% nitrogen and only 20% Oxygen. The oxygen concentrator separates the two components by using zeolite granules to selectively absorb nitrogen from the compressed air. The compressor raises the air pressure to about 20-lbs per square inch (P.S.I). The compressed air is introduced into one of the canisters containing zeolite granules where nitrogen is selectively absorbed leaving the residual oxygen available for patient use. After about 20 seconds the supply of compressed air is automatically diverted to the second canister where the process is repeated enabling the output of oxygen continue uninterrupted.
While the pressure in the second canister is at 20 P.S.I. the pressure in the first canister is reduced to zero. This allows nitrogen to be released from the zeolite and returned into the atmosphere. The zeolite is then regenerated and ready for the next cycle. By alternating the pressure in the two canisters so that first one and then the other is at 20 P.S.I., a constant supply of oxygen is produced while the zeolite is continually being regenerated. Individual units have an output of up to five litres per minute with an oxygen concentration of up to 95%. What is Zeolite? The word ‘zeolite’ is Greek in origin and means ‘boiling stones’ as natural zeolites visibly lose water when heated. Zeolite is an inorganic porous material having a highly regular structure of pores and chambers that allows some molecules to pass through, and causes others to be either excluded, or broken down. It is in many ways, the inorganic equivalent of organic enzymes, many of which also have specific sized chambers that trap chemicals within our bodies, holding them where they either break down, or react with specific chemicals. Zeolite has many uses.
Who uses O2 concentrators?
COPD Patients suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), an illness with disabling symptoms, high cost of care, and substantial mortality. COPD is an obstructive airway disease that is characterized by a reduction noted on the individual’s pulmonary function study. The term COPD is often applied to a family of diseases, including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and alpha 1-antitrypsin disease. Currently, therapeutic interventions can slow the progression of these diseases, but they cannot stop or reverse it.
Oxygen concentrators dramatically extends the use time from a supply of oxygen, offering increased mobility with improved comfort and increased efficiency. The short pulse of oxygen delivered during inhalation is almost undetectable, and the humidity in the room air helps maintain a normal level of moisture in the nasal cavity. This greatly reduces the discomfort of dehydration associated with a continuous flow oxygen system.
For more information on medical oxygen, oxygen concentrators and traveling abroad please contact Oxygen Worldwide.
Small portable oxygen concentrators & battery life.
When you need a portable oxygen concentrator (POC) you will look most possibly for the smallest one as you don’t want to carry or pull around a large and heavy machine. The Airsep Freestyle is currently the smallest portable oxygen concentrator around but being so small it has the disadvantage that it only gives a flow form 2-3 litres per minute and price wise does it not vary much from other models that give up to 6 litres of oxygen per minute.
The other consideration will most likely be the battery life of portable oxygen concentrators. When people start to shop around for a portable concentrator (POC) they often decide that the Philips Evergo or the Inogen One are the machines to go for. The reason being the number of hours they can use the POC if they are going out as the technical data specifies 8 hour use without recharge. But let’s face it, who is going where that there are no power outlets nearby. One can plug in his or her battery charger at a friends place, in every restaurant, coffee shop not to mention the cigarette lighter in the car. This way the battery does not need to be so big and heavy.
The most popular model at this moment that covers about everybody’s needs is either the Sequal Elcipse 3 (which has both a pulse and constant flow of oxygen but needs to be wheeled around on a trolley) or the Invacare XPO2 which is pulse operated but can be carried around with a shoulder strap.