Oxygen surrounds us and is fundamental for life and yet we can take it for granted and not realise that it’s a lot more than just a component of the air.
Our atmosphere today contains around 21 percent oxygen. About 300 million years ago oxygen levels reached 35 percent and insects were able to grow super-large- think dragonflies with the wingspans of hawks.
Oxygen does not actually burn as people think it does. However it does support the combustion of other substances and without a supply of oxygen, combustion ceases. If you think about it, if oxygen itself actually burnt, simply striking a match would be enough to burn all of the oxygen in our planet’s atmosphere.
Almost two-thirds of the weight of living things comes from oxygen, mainly because living things contain a lot of water and 88.9 percent of water’s weight comes from oxygen.
Oxygen (O2) is very unstable in our planet’s atmosphere as it is very reactive and must be constantly replenished by photosynthesis in green plants. Without plant life, our atmosphere would contain almost no oxygen. If we discover any other planets with atmospheres rich in oxygen, we will know that life is almost certainly present on these planets as significant quantities of oxygen will only exist on planets when it is released by living things.
The Northern (and Southern) Lights: The green and dark-red colours in the aurora Borealis (and Australis) are caused by oxygen atoms. Highly energetic electrons from the solar wind split oxygen molecules high in earth’s atmosphere into excited, high energy atoms. These atoms lose energy by emitting photons, producing awe-inspiring light shows. These usually occur in the polar regions because solar electrons will accelerate along our planet’s magnetic field lines until they hit the atmosphere in the polar regions.
A common urban myth is that hyperventilation is caused by breathing in too much oxygen. When we hyperventilate, we breathe too quickly, and this can lead to symptoms such as headache, light-headedness, dizziness, chest pains, tingling, slurred speech, fainting and spasms. Hyperventilation actually causes us to get rid of too much carbon dioxide from our bodies. The trouble with this is that we need carbon dioxide in our blood to stop it from becoming too alkaline. When we hyperventilate, we lose too much carbon dioxide, which disturbs the balance of substances in our blood, causing its pH to increase; this causes the blood vessels leading to our brains to get narrower, slowing the blood flow and decreasing the amount of oxygen reaching vital organs, leading to the symptoms of hyperventilation.
As a gas, oxygen is clear. However as a liquid, it’s pale blue. If you’ve ever wondered what swimming in a pool of liquid oxygen would be like, the answer is very, very cold,(according to Carl Zorn of the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility). Oxygen must get down to minus 297.3 F (minus 183.0 C) to liquefy, so frostbite would be a bit of a problem.
References: http://www.chemicool.com/elements/oxygen-facts.html and http://www.livescience.com/28738-oxygen.html
• 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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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/
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.
Sleep apnea can worsen blood sugar control in people with Type 2 diabetes by disrupting the deepest stage of sleep, a new study suggests. The findings provide another good reason for people with sleep apnea to wear a CPAP mask that helps assure uninterrupted breathing, the standard treatment for the condition, throughout the night.
It is well known that sleep apnea, which causes breathing pauses and dangerous drops in oxygen during sleep, sharply raises the risk of Type 2 diabetes. More severe cases of sleep apnea are generally associated with poorer blood sugar control in diabetics.
While breathing pauses can occur throughout the night in apnea patients, the new study, published in Diabetes Care, found that episodes that occurred during the rapid eye movement, or REM, phase of sleep had the most detrimental effects on long-term blood sugar control.
Most REM sleep occurs in the early morning hours before waking. But research shows that many patients remove their CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure, mask in the middle of the night because it can feel uncomfortable, said Dr. Babak Mokhlesi, an author of the new study and the director of the sleep disorders center at the University of Chicago.
As a result, their apnea is more likely to go untreated during REM sleep, a time that may be particularly important for anyone with diabetes, Dr. Mokhlesi said.
reference to Anahad O’Connor, New York Times, 2014
Oxygen 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.
Christmas can be a very stressful time for anyone – you want to buy presents for your friends and family, plan a trip, plan a family meal and a get-together, and handle the cold weather that you might be experiencing. All of this can be hard to handle for someone who is in full health, not to mention for someone who has a chronic lung condition, such as COPD, or for someone who needs to portable oxygen concentrator on a daily basis.
The key is to not out-do yourself. Buying presents and working yourself into a stressful situation isn’t worth taking a toll on your health. It’s important to keep in mind that your friends and loved ones would want you to stay healthy above all else this time of year.
Here are some ways you can manage your busy holiday season, so you aren’t trying to do too much at once and wearing, as well as ways to relax and just enjoy this special time of year. Staying Calm and De-Stressing
Write down what you have to do on a calendar and space these things apart so that you have plenty of time between each event or activity. This gives you a time buffer, just in case something comes up. You won’t feel stressed out with a quickly approaching deadline.
Keep it simple with your finances. Shopping and thinking about your loved ones shouldn’t send you into a tizzy – it should be more enjoyable than stressful.
Keep your spending realistic and don’t stress out if you can’t afford to get your grandchildren or children that iPad that they want.
Have friends or family help you set up your Christmas decorations, which will save you some work and exhaustion, so you can enjoy the decorations, as well as the time spent with others. This kind of enjoyment is important to keep your stress levels down. After everything has been set up, sip some hot chocolate and watch Christmas films and enjoy the decorations. Scents are important when you are trying to relax. Natural pine scents, candles that smell like vanilla or freshly baked cookies that will help you relax.
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.
OxygenWorldwide.com has revealed its design for a Medical Oxygen Vest ( M.O.V.) for those medical oxygen users who want or need to be exeptional mobile like e.g. children or golfplayers.
OxygenWorldwide, market leader in the medical oxygen travel branch for 20 years challenges with its Medical Oxygen Vest (M.O.V.) a fast growing but rather conservative market when it comes to the design of portable oxygen equipment.
It shows that, in the past few years a unilateral design/development of portable oxygen concentrators (POC’s) has taken place. The medical oxygen equipment industry has put it’s emphasis mainly on making the units smaller and lighter, says Rutger Berntsen, founder and marketing director of OxygenWorldwide . OxygenWorldwide is worlds largest company that arranges medical oxygen for travellers in more than 100 countries and thousands of holiday destinations. Over the past 5-6 years the market shifted from renting more traditional stationary oxygen equipment like cylinders, concentrators or liquid oxygen with a stroller to portable devices. Having clients travelling with these POC’s every day Berntsen and his colleagues were confronted with the various problems that arise using this particular equipment. Searching for a solution was a natural progression. The Medical Oxygen Vest is a body warmer type of vest that 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. POC developers interested in learning more about de M.O.V. should contact Rutger Berntsen at + 34 96.688.28.73 Or view the video online at (www.oxygenworldwide.com/mov-design).
OxygenWorldwide is worldleader when it comes to arranging medical oxygen for travellers. (www.oxygenworldwide.com)
OxygenWorldwide is based in Spain but operates in more than 100 countries and thousands of holiday destinations. All staff members speak a minimum of 5 languages and provide a 24/7 telephone service.
Rutger Berntsen, Marketing director.
rutgerbernsten (at) oxygenworldwide (dot) com
Oxygen was known to be the only element that supports respiration as early as 1800 and was first used in the medical field in 1810. However, it took about 150 years for the gas to be used throughout medicine. In the early to mid 20th century oxygen therapy became rational and scientific, and today modern medicine could not be practiced without the support that oxygen supplies.
Medical oxygen is used to:
provide a basis for virtually all modern anaesthetic techniques
restore tissue oxygen tension by improving oxygen availability in a wide range of conditions such as COPD, cyanosis, shock, severe hemorrhage, carbon monoxide poisoning, major trauma, cardiac/respiratory arrest
provide life support for artificially ventilated patients
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.