Oxygen on holiday

going on holiday with oxygen

Before you arrange your holiday visit your GP or doctor to get a written letter stating that you are fit for travel.

Just give yourself plenty of time prior to your trip to arrange everything you need for your oxygen supply when going abroad for your holidays. Make sure you let your accommodation hosts or company know that you will be having a delivery of medical oxygen on your stay dates.

Contact OxygenWorldwide for all your oxygen needs for at your destination. The team can provide you will quotes and arrange everything medical oxygen wise for you for your stay.

Dubai

Dubai has a misunderstood reputation of being unsafe, all about the ‘bling’ and the rich, being soul-less and being intolerable to non-Islamist visitors. However this is a misconception and if you scratch the glittery surface you’ll find a culture, open-minded and warm city. More than a million Brits have holidays in Dubai each year, which is more than the total number of people who go skiing across the world. Dubai has risen from the sand in just 25 years and boats the biggest, tallest, fastest and most expensive of everything.
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Dubai does enjoy having the biggest and best of everything and holds many records from the tallest building on Earth to the world’s biggest shopping centre.
If you want to remain in a resort then The Palm is the place to be; a man-made peninsular in the shape of a palm tree by a man-made lagoon with a spectacular hotel resort-cum-fantasy castle. It allows you to hop in a fish tank and be surrounded with 60,00 fish, hammerhead sharks and stingrays. There’s snorkel sessions at the aquarium among the sharks and stingrays which you can also feed. On the 42 acre site there are 2 lake-sized swimming pools, a water park and a beach. 23 restaurants offers you a huge range of places to eat offering a huge range of cuisines so you can eat in a different place each day.
Nearby to the resort there are other beaches and an array of restaurants as well as the Dubai Mall which is the biggest in the world and is larger than 50 football pitches. It is attached to the worlds tallest building the Burj Khalifa tower with an observation deck on the 124th floor. There is the Dubai aquarium and underwater zoo with amazing creatures from all over the world and an Olympic-sized ice rink and 22 screen cinema. Most hotels and public buildings also smell amazing due to perfumed air-con which just adds to the experience.
Its difficult to remember that most of Dubai is actually covered in sand but an evening desert safari will quickly remind you of this fact and after a camel ride and meal by an open fire you can spend the night in the desert under the stars.
Dubai offers luxury and glitz and glamour in every aspect you can think of and you definitely find ways to pamper yourself while you are there. On the flip-side there is also the tradition, culture and history of the region with traditional dancers and entertainment as well as museums to visit. Dubai is proud to be tolerant of all religions and races and has a variety of churches and temples as well as openly celebrating other religious holidays such as Christmas and Easter with decorations proudly put up and Christmas tunes playing in the shops. Female expats remark upon how safe they feel living here and the city is practically crime and violence free. It definitely has a lot more to offer than just being an adult Disneyland and is enjoyable for all ages. The temperatures do climb however and therefore winter-time is the preferable time of year to visit.
Even though Dubai is a bit further to travel to, it is still a viable travel destination if you have medical requirements, as companies such as Oxygen Worldwide now provide medical oxygen to Dubai as well as to the majority of countries around the world. It is mostly flat and with air-con in most buildings you can keep cool in the heat and with portable concentrators you can move around and explore and enjoy all of what Dubai has to offer.
 
References: http://www.dailymail.co.uk and www.mirror.co.uk and http://www.telegraph.co.uk
 
 
 
 
 
 

Can swimming and a need for oxygen therapy mix?

The summer and holiday season is only round the corner, looking forward to swimming in the villa pool or in the sea. For those suffering with lung disorders requiring oxygen therapy this may seem like a fantasy, but it doesn’t have to be.
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If you have lung problems swimming could be the perfect exercise for you. As your body is floating it’s less strenuous on your breathing and can help to improve your fitness and breathing. It’s so beneficial that it even helps people who suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). People with COPD have a decreased lung capacity and get less oxygen with every breath than healthy people; therefore they tire out more quickly with just regular activities like walking or vacuuming. But those who exercise in a pool or swim lightly often end up with less breathlessness and can walk longer on land because of their lungs becoming stronger. It is a form of exercise that you can control, you can stop and start when you wish and go at a speed that suits you.
If you swim regularly at a private pool to improve your confidence and fitness then swimming on holiday won’t be an issue and you can enjoy your holiday more.
You may think that it is impossible to combine oxygen therapy and swimming but there are those that have managed it with some handy hints to share:
•    Go to the swimming pool at a quiet time or when there is a slow lane available. Sometimes the swimming pool offers lessons or times for disabled or poor swimmers.
•     You can have your POC at the side of the pool ready to use if you feel short of breath.
•     Start off slow and don’t push yourself too hard or fast. It will take time to build up your lung strength and fitness.
•     You can get extra tubing to use with your cylinder and ask someone to walk alongside you in the pool to carry your cylinder as you do laps. You can ask your provider for spare tubing and cannula that you can use as a spare ‘swimming set’. Check with the pool staff first to ensure they don’t mind you doing this.
•     You can walk to and from the pool to increase your exercise and use your oxygen on the way there and on the way home and have it by the pool, so if necessary you can use it after each lap. As your fitness improves you will hopefully use it less and less.
•     You can get an inflatable cushion and have your oxygen machine floating alongside you as you swim if you need oxygen constantly. Many find they can still use it in shallow and calm sea water too so you can swim in the sea on your holiday.
•     If you’re worried about the warmth and humidity of an indoor pool severely affecting your breathing you can go and visit and sit by the poolside with your oxygen to ‘test the waters’ first.
•     There may be an option for you to use your rehab pool at the hospital for a while so that you can get used to swimming in a more controlled environment which will help with your confidence before venturing to a public pool, ask your doctor about options.
•      There are water-proof cases that you can buy for your oxygen cylinder so that you can have it in the water with you.
•     Start off slowly with just floating, walking around and exercises before moving onto short bursts of swimming and then onto laps. Do what you’re comfortable with doing and progress at your own speed.
•    Please note: Some indoor pools with water that contain a high level of chlorine and have bad ventilation might do you lungs more harm than good.
Obviously it depends upon the stage and severity of your lung condition and your reliability upon your oxygen and which equipment you use but there are options and ways around it. For most people they are able to take up swimming using these handy hints and find that after a period of time their fitness improves both in the water and on land and they become less reliant upon their oxygen. Also it means that you can then swim on holiday and enjoy the sun, sea and sand more!
If you require oxygen still on holiday whilst swimming or just want to have a back-up POC nearby on the shore or by the pool side then there are global oxygen supply companies that can supply these for you whilst you are on holiday in whichever country you’d like to visit.
References: www.healthunlocked.com and http://copdathlete.com

Lung Conditions Shouldn't Stop You From Planning A Holiday This Summer!

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There is a myth that if you are on oxygen therapy then your life is effectively over and that it is too restrictive and complicated to go away on holiday. This is not necessarily the case and for most sufferers the world is your oyster. Always check with your doctor first to ensure you are fit enough to travel and ask your doctor to write a letter stating this just in case you need it.
All you need to do is prepare and plan the holiday well and ensure that you consider some factors when planning your trip:
•    Climate: many people with lung conditions prefer warm climates that have salty air. Lower oxygen levels at higher altitudes can make breathing difficulties worse.
•    Terrain: whether your destination is flat or on a hill could affect your ability to get around comfortably.
•    Wheelchair access.
•    Transport availability.
•    Special needs such as oxygen treatment.
•    Plan in advance: if you leave things to the last minute, you could forget something crucial. Think about how far you can walk, how many stairs you can manage, access to toilets and what transport you can use.
•    Be realistic: places you liked in the past may not be suitable now. Pick something you and your carer can cope with physically.
•    Shop around: different companies have different policies for people with lung conditions, so find the best deal for you. Many travel agents offer holidays for people with special requirements.
•    Ask questions: travel firms are used to dealing with special requirements. They should be able to answer all of your queries and concerns.
Arrange Insurance
You should ensure that you and your carer have full travel insurance before going away to avoid huge medical bills if you are taken ill during your trip. Look into this first as it may be expensive and you may need a specialist provider depending on your health. Check that it covers all aspects of your medical condition and that you declare everything accurately to them otherwise it may not be valid, leaving you with a huge bill.
Keep your documents safe with you while you travel in case you need them suddenly in an emergency.
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) entitles you to reduced cost – sometimes free – medical treatment if you fall ill when travelling in Europe.
Choosing Accommodation
Accommodation in the UK is divided into four mobility categories:
•    Category One – suitable for people able to climb a flight of stairs that have extra fittings to aid balance.
•    Category Two – suitable for someone who needs a wheelchair some of the time but can manage a maximum of three steps.
•    Category Three – suitable for people who depend on a wheelchair but who can transfer unaided to and from the wheelchair in a seated position.
•    Category Four – suitable for a person who depends on the use of a wheelchair and needs help from a carer or a mechanical hoist to transfer to and from the wheelchair.
Each category has its own logo, which is displayed by accommodation providers that have been assessed. Make sure you choose accommodation that best fits of requirements.
Other countries have different systems so just make sure you ask your travel agent about how to choose your accommodation abroad.
Getting There
Coach
Several coach companies are working towards making their vehicles accessible for people with disabilities. Many coaches now feature kneeling suspension, which makes boarding and alighting easier. Most on-board toilet facilities are now level with the coach seating.
Some companies allow you to bring on board your own oxygen supply and will carry some types of collapsible battery-powered wheelchairs.
Train
Different train companies have different policies regarding people with disabilities, so plan your route in advance and find out which companies’ trains you need.
Ferry
Many ferry companies have lifts, toilets and wheelchair facilities; some can supply wheelchairs at terminals. A few have special cabins for disabled people and/or offer discounts. Check before you book, especially if you need oxygen.
Camping and caravanning
The Camping and Caravanning Club has three stages of accessibility for camping and caravan sites. So you just need to check that the site is appropriate for your needs.
•    No accessible facilities;
•    Accessible to people who can move around a little, but not wheelchair accessible; and
•    Fully accessible including shower blocks and facilities.
Holidaying With Oxygen
Oxygen for travel in the UK is provided by the NHS. You just need to let your usual oxygen provider know the details of your holiday, including the dates you are going and returning and where you will be staying, and they will arrange everything for you.
You should first get permission to store oxygen cylinders and equipment from the owner of the place where you are staying.
Oxygen suppliers in the UK will only provide oxygen for travel and stays within the UK. If you are travelling abroad then there are many overseas oxygen providers that can fulfil your oxygen requirements and if you are travelling by plane then you need to ensure your airline’s oxygen policy and whether you need to complete any additional documentation for them.
Flying with a lung condition
Many people believe their lung condition will prevent them from flying, especially if they need oxygen but this is not necessarily true. First, ask your doctor whether you can travel by plane and whether you will need any additional oxygen on the plane.
Then contact individual airlines to discuss your requirements and to find out what their policy is for carrying and using oxygen on planes.
If you are planning a long-haul flight and use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to treat the sleep disorder obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), you should consider whether you might need to use your machine during the flight.
Some airlines have restrictions on what machines are permitted for use on board and others may require you to fill in a form before you travel.
When you contact the airline, find out what assistance is available at the airport as well as on the plane and check:
•    the airline’s policy on carrying and using oxygen and medical devices such as CPAP machines;
•    the exact length of the flight, and whether delays are likely;
•    the facilities available at the outgoing and incoming airports. These might include assistance to get you from the airport lounge to the departure gate and on to the plane, the use of wheelchairs, and whether oxygen is available at the airport; and
•    how you should confirm your fitness to fly.
Medication
If you are on medication then you will need a letter from your doctor confirming that you need the medication, and you should also keep a list of all the medication and doses you take in case you need to get more during your stay. List the proper names, keep all medication in its original packaging and keep it with you in your hand luggage. A doctor’s letter is required for liquid medicines exceeding 100 millilitres that are taken into the aircraft cabin. When given medication abroad, check whether it can be brought back into the UK. If you are in any doubt, declare the medication at customs.
Preparation is the key. Plan your trip in advance, think through everything you need, ask as many questions as you can of as many people as possible, then decide what’s best for you.
References: http://www.blf.org.uk and http://www.cancerresearchuk.org

7 surprising headache triggers

It’s easy to blame headaches on the usual suspects, such as workload and skipping your morning coffee. But did you know that there are other lesser known set-offs, which, if not identified, could cause frequent headaches? According to Dr Frederick Freitag, former director of headache medicine at Baylor University Medical Centre, us, if you know the root cause of your headache, you can often prevent it from occurring in the first place. As compiled from the Health magazine, livescience.com and lifescript.com, here’s how to gun down hidden headache triggers.
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Heat
A theory behind heat causing headache is that the body’s attempt to cool itself by sending more blood to the skin deprives the brain of oxygen. In the February 2012 issue of Head Wise, a publication of the National Headache Foundation, Dr Vincent T Martin mentioned that summer brings with it a unique set of triggers, such as sunlight, dehydration, increased physical activity, allergies and humidity.
Remedy: You can’t change the weather, but you can take steps to keep cool.  Stay in an air-conditioned environment on hot days and keep yourself well-hydrated when outdoors or exercising. If the AC isn’t an option, avoid getting out when the sun is too bright.
Pain medication
Overusing pain medicines can exacerbate headaches. When taken too regularly, prescription narcotics or medicines containing caffeine and antihistamines can interfere with the brain’s pain-regulation system. Over-the-counter pain relievers, too, can cause rebound headaches. They lower your pain threshold and make your headache feel worse, said Dr Brian Grosberg, co-director of the headache centre at the Montefiore Headache Centre in the Bronx, New York.
Remedy: Limit pain medications to two days a week and never take them more than the label allows. If your head still pounds, then stick to chamomile tea and opt for a nap.
Not eating
On busy days, you may think stress is causing your head to ache, but maybe, you just forgot to eat. “Your brain runs on two things: glucose, which comes from the food you eat, and oxygen,” Dr Freitag explained. “When it doesn’t get enough of either, the brain tells you that its needs aren ’t getting met by firing up pain-sensitive neurons.”
Remedy: Make sure you fuel up every four to six hours. To keep blood sugar steady, avoid junky sugary snacks. Instead, choose something with slow-burning protein and complex carbohydrates.
Cheddar cheese
Certain foods may bring on headaches. Fermented or aged products, including cider vinegar, soy sauce, and cheeses such as blue, Swiss and cheddar, contain tyramine, an amino acid that can trigger headaches by constricting and expanding blood vessels. Over-processed meats, such as hot dogs and salami, pack a double blow since they often contain both tyramine and preservatives called nitrates, which can increase blood flow to the brain.
Remedy: Keep track of what you eat and when your headaches strike. If you find that certain foods are triggers, try not consuming them and see if it helps. If you’re craving a sandwich, choose fresh meats instead of processed.
Magnesium deficiency
If you’re not getting enough of this vital element, you may suffer from headaches. Dr Mauskop’s research has found that up to 50% of people who suffer from acute migraine attacks have low levels of magnesium in their blood.
Remedy: Add more magnesium-rich foods to your diet, including green vegetables such as spinach, whole grains, fish, seeds and nuts. If you don’t get enough magnesium in your diet, you may need to take a supplement of anywhere from 200 to 600 mg per day.
Computer usage
Studies show that headaches from Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) are common, according to the American Optometric Association. And despite the name, this condition causes problems for more than just the eyes. The continuous flexing of the eye-focusing muscles creates fatigue, eyestrain and headaches.
Remedy: Follow good ergonomics to prevent computer eyestrain and the headaches that erupt as a result. Set your monitor, so the top of the screen is slightly below eye level. Also, sit up straight and make sure your chair supports your neck and back, Dr Freitag said.
Teeth clenching
If you often suffer from morning headaches, then head to the dentist. A lesser-known but common reason for headaches is clenching or grinding your teeth at night. Known as bruxism, this condition can most commonly get triggered by stress. Certain medications or poor tooth alignment could also be a cause. Most people grind their teeth in their sleep at some time in their lives, but many never find out.
Remedy: Ask your dentist to check for signs of tooth-grinding, including cracked or worn-down teeth. You may be fitted with a custom night guard, which keeps your teeth from touching and helps realign your bite while you sleep. If you want to skip the dental visit, try relaxing before bed with a warm bath, meditate or practice deep-breathing exercises.
(ref from The Express Tribune, November 24th, 2014.)
OxygenWorldwide can help by taking care of cluster headache (horton’s disease) patients check out www.oxygenworldwide.com

Going on holiday with a respiratory condition

Holiday tips
• Plan in advance: if you leave things to the last minute, you could forget something crucial. Think about how far you can walk, how many stairs you can manage, access to toilets and what transport you can use.
• Be realistic: places you liked in the past may not be suitable now. Pick something you and your carer can cope with physically.
• Shop around: different companies have different policies for people with lung conditions, so find the best deal for you. Many travel agents offer holidays for people with special requirements.
• Ask questions: travel firms are used to dealing with special requirements. They should be able to answer all of your queries and concerns.
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Holidays in the UK
How do I choose my accommodation?
Tourism for All’s National Accessible Accommodation Standard assesses all types of accommodation, including self-catering, for accessibility. It puts accommodation into four mobility categories:
• Category One – suitable for people able to climb a flight of stairs that have extra fittings to aid balance.
• Category Two – suitable for someone who needs a wheelchair some of the time but can manage a maximum of three steps.
• Category Three – suitable for people who depend on a wheelchair but who can transfer unaided to and from the wheelchair in a seated position.
• Category Four – suitable for a person who depends on the use of a wheelchair and needs help from a carer or a mechanical hoist to transfer to and from the wheelchair.
 
Holidays abroad
Many people with a lung condition think they can’t go abroad, but this isn’t true. As in the UK, packages differ, so shop around. Always check with your doctor or health care professional to make sure you are well enough to travel before deciding where to go, and always plan your arrangements in advance.
How do I get there?
Ferry
Many ferry companies have lifts, toilets and other facilities accessible to people with disabilities. They can offer priority loading and special parking to vehicles with disabled passengers.
Trains
Eurostar trains have been designed to cater for passengers with special needs. Some coaches have wheelchair access and allow oxygen containers on board. If you’re travelling further afield in Europe, contact the relevant European train company for its policy on travelling with oxygen.
Car
Make sure the car you are travelling in has been checked and/or serviced before you travel. Check whether your insurance company requires a green card – a document that makes it easier for vehicles to move freely across foreign borders. In the UK, Blue Badges allow drivers of passengers with severe mobility problems to park close to where they need to go. The UK has agreed informal parking arrangements with other European Union (EU) countries, so you may be able to use the Blue Badge abroad. You can find out more at www.direct.gov.uk/en/
disabledpeople/motoringandtransport/dg_4001061.
Holidaying abroad with oxygen
If you need oxygen for use throughout your holiday, you will need to make arrangements for the oxygen to be provided before you travel.
If you are travelling outside of Europe, you will need to contact an oxygen company that supplies the country you will be visiting.
Some travellers have found that hiring a portable oxygen concentrator (POC) is an alternative to arranging oxygen supplies for the majority of their holiday. However you may still need to consider arranging a back-up supply of oxygen for emergencies. If you are travelling by plane,
you should bear in mind that different airlines have different policies for using and carrying oxygen and medical devices such as POCs on board. Always check with the airline you are travelling with before you book.
 
 

Another client thank you!

downloWe have a house at Portugal and found your service browsing the internet. We would like to thank you for arranging the liquid oxygen plus the portable which my husband needed recently so that we still can enjoy our house together which we bought many years ago. Thank you OxygenWorldwide‘ Mr. and Mrs. Atkinson

Seeing and breathing clearly

glassesOxygen therapy eyeglasses are designed for those individuals that require supplemental oxygen.  Glasses allows you to “ditch” your nasal cannula, improve your quality of life, and feel better about yourself, while assuring that you are receiving the oxygen prescribed by your doctor.  These attractive eyeglass frames not only hold your prescription lenses, they also deliver the oxygen you need in a way that others will hardly notice.
Oxygen glasses use a special tubing that is nearly invisible. This tubing attaches to your eyeglass frames at the ends of the side pieces. The oxygen travels through the frames to the bridge. At the bridge, it flows through inconspicuous nasal prongs into your nasal cavity. The nasal prongs sit back against your face along the sides of your nose.
COPD patients using oxygen glasses look better and more normal than patients using traditional nasal cannula. This boosts patients’ self esteem. Patients with oxygen glasses use their oxygen more consistently and have more active social lives. Oxygen glasses reduce the stigma associated with oxygen use. Oxygen glasses do not require tubing over the ears or across the face. This reduces skin irritation and sores. Traditional oxygen tubing gets very cold in winter weather. Oxygen glasses make it more pleasant to go out in colder temperatures.

xygen glasses come in full rim and half rim styles. Both styles feature lightweight frames in several sizes to fit different users. The full rim glasses come in gold-tone or brown, and the half rim glasses come in gunmetal, pink, blue and brown. Hinged models fold like traditional glasses and have replaceable rubber seals over the hinge to protect the oxygen flow. Non-hinged models do not fold, but are more durable than hinged models.
Oxygen glasses come with tubing, connectors, nasal prongs and the frames. Take the frames to your optician to have your personal prescription lenses inserted. Available accessories include clip-on shades to turn your oxygen glasses into sunglasses and complementary shoulder bags and backpacks for discreetly carrying your portable oxygen tank.

There are many companies that sell and market these products, take a look and you may be able to improve your breathing and see more clearly.
Traveling with medical oxygen? Make sure you take a look at OxygenWorldwide.

We don’t take breathing for granted.

Travelling with oxygen
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Holiday and travel.
Even if you have a condition which requires oxygen therapy, you may wish to go on holiday either within the UK or abroad. We have put together some key considerations for you if you wish to go on holiday. We can help with many of the details and offer advice. Please give us as much notice of your holiday requirements, however
it is best to request as early as possible.
Going on holiday in the UK
Before you book
→ Contact your planned holiday destination to gain permission for oxygen equipment to be delivered and stored in the accommodation.
→ If you are travelling by public transport – contact the transport company and inform them you will be carrying oxygen.
Remember to advise:
1. Start and end date of your holiday
2. Full postal address and telephone number of the holiday destination.
Holidays outside the UK
(including the Channel Islands)
Before booking a holiday outside the UK it is advisable to discuss your plans with your doctor or
healthcare professional – especially if you are flying. During a flight, the high altitudes will cause the
oxygen concentration levels in the air in the cabin to fall. People without the need for supplementaryBefore you book your flight find out the following information:
→ What the airline’s policy is on oxygen. Taking oxygen on a plane can be easy and free, or
difficult and expensive. Some airlines will not allow oxygen on the plane at all, it depends on the airline. You must find out before you book a ticket. This may also affect your choice of destination or carrier.
→ The exact length of the flight, and whether delays are likely.
→ The facilities available at both airports. This includes assistance required with luggage, boarding the aircraft, wheelchair requirements and whether oxygen is available. If the holiday involves a long-haul flight, you should find out if time will be spent at a third airport for refuelling and how oxygen will be supplied there if required. With the exception of oxygen provision, these services will usually be free.
→ How you confirm your fitness to fly. Some airlines let you travel without a letter from your doctor, while others ask you to fill in a special medical form, verified either by your own GP or by the airline’s medical staff. Most ask for a fitness to fly certificate, obtained from your doctor.

Helping you to breathe at home

Home oxygen treatment involves breathing high concentrations of oxygen from a cylinder or machine in your home.
If you’ve been prescribed oxygen therapy, it’s because your blood oxygen level is low. Low oxygen levels can potentially damage your heart or brain.
The main purpose of home oxygen treatment is to raise your blood oxygen to a level that prevents such harm. It also helps relieve breathlessness and other symptoms of low blood oxygen, such as ankle swelling and blue lips.
However, using oxygen just for relieving symptoms of breathlessness is not helpful and can cause long term harm by making you less fit. This can also cause a delay in finding out why you are breathless.

How home oxygen treatment can help

If you have a medical condition that leads to a low oxygen level in your blood (hypoxia), you may feel breathless and tired, particularly after walking or coughing. You may also have a build-up of fluid around your ankles (oedema) and blue lips.
Breathing air with a higher concentration of oxygen can help increase the amount of oxygen in your blood. This makes it easier to do activities that might otherwise be more difficult. It also helps reduce the symptoms mentioned above.
Oxygen therapy can help people with a range of health conditions that affect breathing or blood circulation, including:

  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – a long-term disease of the lungs
  • severe long-term asthma
  • cystic fibrosis – an inherited disease that causes the lungs to become clogged with thick, sticky mucus
  • pulmonary hypertension – high pressure inside the arteries to the lungs, which causes damage to the right-hand side of the heart
  • obstructive sleep apnoea – a condition that causes interrupted breathing during sleep
  • diseases of the nerves and muscles or ribcage
  • heart failure – when the heart struggles to pump enough blood around the body

People who have oxygen therapy have different requirements. Some people only need oxygen therapy for short periods during the day, when they’re walking about (ambulatory oxygen). Others need it for longer periods and during the night.

Different types of home oxygen

Oxygen can be obtained from:

  • compressed oxygen cylinders
  • liquid oxygen in cylinders
  • an oxygen concentrator machine, which extracts oxygen from the air

Oxygen cylinders

If you just need oxygen for short periods to relieve attacks of breathlessness after an illness, you will probably be prescribed oxygen cylinders. However, this should be reviewed after a certain time so that the short-term relief does not hide more serious underlying heart or lung conditions. If your blood oxygen levels are normal for you during a review, that short-term oxygen should be withdrawn.
You breathe the oxygen through a mask or through soft tubes in your nose, called nasal cannulae. You can talk, eat and drink while using cannulae.
Cylinders containing oxygen compressed into liquid form can contain more oxygen than standard cylinders. This type of oxygen supply will last for longer, and the tank may also be lighter.

Oxygen concentrator machine

An oxygen concentrator machine is convenient if you would benefit from having oxygen for a large number of hours a day, including while you’re asleep. It ensures you have a source of oxygen that never runs out.
An oxygen concentrator is a machine, about two-and-a-half feet (75cm) high, which plugs into your electrical socket. It filters oxygen from the air in the room and delivers it through plastic tubing to a mask or nasal cannulae.
Long tubing can be fixed around the floor or skirting board of your house, with two points where you can “plug in” to the oxygen supply.
When the machine is installed, the engineer or nurse will discuss with you the length of tubing you’ll need. The machine is very quiet and compact, and the engineer will explain how to use it and will answer any questions you have.
A back-up cylinder of oxygen is also provided in case the machine breaks down. Regular maintenance visits will be made to make sure the concentrator is always working properly.

Portable (ambulatory) oxygen

If you’d like to have a small portable cylinder to take oxygen outside your home, talk to your specialist. You’ll need to be fully assessed to see whether portable oxygen (also known as ambulatory oxygen therapy) is likely to be helpful.
Portable oxygen is not recommended if you have heart failure or if you smoke.
Portable cylinders can provide oxygen at a rate of 2 litres or 4 litres a minute, or have an adjustable scale up to 4 litres a minute. The flow required is determined by your lung specialist or the oxygen service healthcare professional. When full, these cylinders weigh just over five pounds (2.3kg) and hold just under two hours of oxygen (at 2 litres a minute).

Going on holiday

If you are going on holiday in England or Wales, talk to your supplier to see if you can make arrangements to have home oxygen supplied to you at your destination. Try to give them as much notice as possible.
Before you arrange your holiday, check with your doctor that you are well enough to travel.

Safety

Oxygen is a fire hazard and, if you are supplied with home oxygen, it is important to take precautions.
For example:

  • do not let anyone smoke while you are using oxygen
  • keep away from flammable liquids while using oxygen – these include alcohol gel, cleaning fluid or aerosols
  • keep oxygen at least six feet away from flames or heat sources
  • keep oxygen cylinders upright to avoid them getting damaged

Your home oxygen supplier is also likely to let the local fire service know that there is oxygen in your home. They may request a risk assessment, even if you do not smoke.