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
Where can I holiday?
The world is your oyster. However, you may need to think about the following factors before travelling:
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.
Special needs, such as oxygen treatment.
Flying with a lung condition
Many people believe their lung condition will prevent them from flying. This is not necessarily true. First, ask your doctor whether you can travel by plane. Most people with a lung condition can go on planes, even if they need oxygen. If you use oxygen therapy, you should ask your doctor if you might need additional oxygen on the plane.
Once your doctor has given you the go-ahead, 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. Many airlines have a medical officer or dedicated unit for disabled passengers or those with special medical needs. Contact the airline before you book to discuss your needs.
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.
Some travellers have found that hiring a portable oxygen concentrator (POC) in the UK to take abroad 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.
OxygenWorldwide can help arrange your medical oxygen abroad or portable oxygen concentrator plus take a look at our S.O.S Back up service: www.oxygenworldwide.com
• 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 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
- aid resuscitation
- provide life support for artificially ventilated patients
- reduce incidence of surgical wound infection
- aid cardiovascular stability
Read our useful Wiki guide for all the information and explanations to do with travelling with medical oxygen with OxygenWorldwide.
OxygenWorldwide provide a service for all medical oxygen users who are travelling and should register.
WHO should register?
If you intend to travel with a portable concentrator and want to be sure alternative oxygen can be supplied in case you encounter problems with your oxygen device you can register below for this service at no cost!
First of all for your peace of mind and secondly to enable us to work out and inform you if we can provide the service you might require in the place and country where you will be going. Although we generally will be able to help you without a pre-registration we can act faster if we have already your details in our database.
WHEN to register?
Any time but the earlier the better as you might want to travel to a certain area where we need to check on availability.
WHO do I call?
In case of an emergency you simply call our 24 hour S.O.S. service on ++ 34 609 657 727
Questions? If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. OxygenWorldwide can, if needed, also arrange oxygen at your destination before your arrival. There is no charge for this registration Register here FREE today.
Jan 8, 2013, 2:38pm EST UPDATED: Jan 9, 2013, 3:52pm EST
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.
For those of you 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. This is where OxygenWorldwide can help with 20 years of expertise the team are ready and waiting. On call 24 hours a day book your next trip no matter how short or long haul and you will always be in safe hands.
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. In case of break down OxygenWorldwide provide a FREE registration to a Back Up Service – complete details online now and await a confirmation from our team.
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.
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 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.
In Europe, the rules and regulations for oxygen use on 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 OxygenWorldwide’s customer service department who have a wide range of knowledge in these countries.
Being well prepared will make your travels much more enjoyable.