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
Pulmonary Fibrosis (PF) is a debilitating disease, marked by progressive scarring of the lungs, that increasingly hinders a person’s ability to breathe.
Sometimes pulmonary fibrosis can be linked to a particular cause, such as environmental exposure, chemotherapy or radiation therapy, infection, or autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. However sometimes there is no known cause and is referred to as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis or IPF.
The cause of Pulmonary Fibrosis still remains a mystery, but it is seems to involve changes in the lung’s normal healing processes. Patients may have an exaggerated or uncontrolled healing response that over time produces excessive fibrous scar tissue, or fibrosis, in the lungs. This scarring causes the lung’s tiny alveoli to thicken and harden, rendering them less able to function and provide the body with the oxygen it needs.
There are a few risk factors that may alter the lung’s healing process and cause scarring. These may include:
Occupational exposure to dusty environments (e.g. wood or metal dust)
Genetic predisposition (10-15 percent of cases)
Viral or bacterial lung infections
Acid reflux disease
Pulmonary Fibrosis hinders a person’s ability to take in oxygen. It causes shortness of breath and is usually associated with a persistent dry cough. The disease progresses over time, leading to an increase in lung scarring and a worsening of symptoms. Unfortunately, Pulmonary Fibrosis is ultimately disabling and fatal.
If you have been diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis, there are a number of things you can do to take part in your own treatment and help yourself stay healthy.
Get your flu vaccine every year.
Consult your doctor about enrolling in a pulmonary rehabilitation or respiratory therapy program to help increase your strength, learn breathing techniques, and expand your social support network. Many patients report improved breathing and quality of life after adding education and exercise to their treatment.
Eat a well-balanced diet to maintain in ideal body weight. This helps support your body and keeps up your strength.
Consider eating smaller, more frequent meals during the course of your day. Many patients find it easier to breathe when their stomach isn’t completely full.
When Pulmonary Fibrosis progresses to a point where your blood-oxygen levels are low, another important tool that can help sufferers is supplemental oxygen therapy. Oxygen can be prescribed by your doctor or via a local oxygen supply company. It contains a higher percentage of oxygen and helps increase the amount of oxygen that is available to be transferred from your lungs into the bloodstream, thereby producing more energy to be used by the cells of your body.
Supplemental oxygen can:
Decrease your shortness of breath – especially with exercise
Improve your ability to perform daily activities
Improve your overall level of fitness
Improve your quality of life
Increase life span by decreasing the extra work your heart is doing because of low oxygen saturation levels
And in case you need medical oxygen at any destination worldwide please contact us on [email protected] and we will try to meet your specific requirements.
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.
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.
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
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.
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).
When going on holiday make sure that you have enough supply to last you plus speak with oxygen providers who can help source medical oxygen for you and even supply back up help for safe peace of mind.
An injection that delivers oxygen directly into the bloodstream for patients who cannot breathe has been invented by scientists at Boston Children’s Hospital, according a report published in Science Translational Medicine. The authors explained that when patients suffer from an obstructed airway or acute lung failure, they urgently need oxygen to reach their blood, otherwise they have brain injury or suffer from cardiac arrest.
The researchers designed an injection filled with tiny, gas-filled microparticles that can be administered directly into the bloodstream, supplying it with much-needed oxygen.
The microparticles are made of a single layer of fatty molecules that surround a miniscule pocket of oxygen – they are placed in a liquid solution and injected into the patients.
John Kheir and team say that patients who are injected with this solution, may regain near-normal blood oxygen levels within seconds.
In animal experiments, the authors reported that they could beep the animals alive without breathing for 15 minutes, drastically reducing the incidence of organ injury and cardiac arrest (the heart stops completely).
The oxygen injection may buy the patient valuable time John Kheir explained that the microparticle solutions are easy to carry around, and could conveniently be utilized to keep people who cannot breathe alive, giving emergency personnel more time to get patients to a safe place where more sophisticated life-saving procedures can be carried out.
The authors say the microparticle solution injections could not be used for more than fifteen to thirty minutes, because they contain fluid that would overload the blood if used for any longer.
These are not blood substitutes, Kheir stressed. Blood substitutes carry oxygen, but are of limited use when the lungs are not working and cannot oxygenate them. These microparticles are specifically designed for people who cannot breathe.
After caring for a young girl who had severe pneumonia in 2006 and suffered severe brain injury because of extremely low blood-oxygen levels, Kheir starting looking into the idea of injectable oxygen.
The little girl died before the medical team could get her on a heart-lung machine.
It was several years before the team managed to get the microparticles safe for injection. Kheir said “The effort was truly multidisciplinary. It took chemical engineers, particle scientists and medical doctors to get the mix just right.”
They used asonicator– a device which emits high-intensity sound waves to mix lipids and oxygen together. Oxygen gas gets trapped inside tiny particles, about two to four micrometers in size – too small to see with the naked eye. They found that a solution in which 70% of the volume consisted of oxygen was just right for human blood.
In previous studies in the early 1900s, scientists attempted to oxygenate blood with intravenous oxygen, but they failed. Sometimes they caused fatal gas embolisms.
reference:Copyright:Medical News Today
Travelling with oxygen has become much easier with the development of portable oxygen concentrators (POCs). These devices run on a battery pack, can be recharged, plugged into the wall or a cigarette lighter in a car, and can be taken on airplanes.
There are several makes and models, with widely differing features, so it is important to choose the one that is best for you, that delivers enough oxygen to keep your saturation 90 percent or greater at rest and with activity.
Some tips for air travel with POC’s:
· Start making arrangements with the airline well ahead of time to find out which POC is allowed. Many airlines list accepted manufacturers and brands on their websites.
· Allow plenty of extra time for check-in.
· Carry several extra battery packs. FAA regulations require enough battery time to cover 150 percent of the flight time.
· POC’s and battery packs can be rented.
· Carry an extra three-way plug for recharging your POC in the airport. People often need to recharge their electronic equipment in the airport during layovers, and this will help assure that you will be able to recharge yours.
· POC’s are exempt from the carry-on allowance.
· Carry a prescription for oxygen, signed by your doctor.
For more information about oxygen supply whilst on holiday please enquire now atwww.oxygenworldwide.comand register for our SOS back up service.
Medical oxygen adds a higher percentage of oxygen to the air a patient uses to breathe. And fire needs oxygen to burn and if a fire should start in an oxygen-enriched area, the material burning will burn more quickly.
When more oxygen is present, any fire that starts will burn hotter and faster than usual, it is crucial to follow safety precautions when medical oxygen is in use in a home.
Oxygen saturates fabric-covered furniture, clothing, hair and bedding, making it easier for a fire to start and spread, according to the regulator. Smoking is the leading heat source resulting in medical oxygen-related fires, injuries and deaths. Homes where medical oxygen is used need specific fire safety rules to protect people from fire and burns.
Simple, safety tips:
• There is no safe way to smoke in the home when oxygen is in use. Patients on oxygen should not smoke.
• Candles, matches, wood stoves and even sparking toys can be ignition sources and should not be used in the home.
• Keep oxygen cylinders at least five feet from heat sources, open flames or electrical devices.
• Body oil, hand lotion and items containing oil and grease can easily ignite. Keep oil and grease away from where oxygen is in use.
• Never use aerosol sprays containing combustible materials near the oxygen.
• Post “No Smoking” and “No Open Flames” signs in and outside the home to remind people not to smoke.
• Ensure smoke alarms are working by testing monthly. Daylight saving time weekends are great times to replace smoke alarm batteries. Also consider using 10-year batteries for smoke alarms.
• Practice a home fire escape plan with two ways out of every room at least twice a year.
Stay safe with OxygenWorldwide and our care team – register your portable oxygen concentrator with us today at [email protected]
Just a few grains of the newly synthesized material could allow us to stay underwater without scuba tanks
Using specially synthesized crystalline materials, scientists from the University of Southern Denmark have created a substance that is able to absorb and store oxygen in such high concentrations that just one bucketful is enough to remove all of the oxygen in a room. The substance is also able to release the stored oxygen in a controlled manner when it is needed, so just a few grains could replace the need for divers to carry bulky scuba tanks.
The key component of the new material is the element cobalt, which is bound in a specially designed organic molecule. In standard form – and depending on the available oxygen content, the ambient temperature, and the barometric pressure – the absorption of oxygen by the material from its surroundings may take anything from seconds to days.
“An important aspect of this new material is that it does not react irreversibly with oxygen – even though it absorbs oxygen in a so-called selective chemisorptive process,” said Professor Christine McKenzie from the University of Southern Denmark. “The material is both a sensor, and a container for oxygen – we can use it to bind, store, and transport oxygen – like a solid artificial hemoglobin.”
The crystalline material changes color when absorbing or releasing oxygen: black when saturated, pink when oxygen released (Photo: University of Denmark)
Varying the constituent structure of the material can also bind and release oxygen at different rates. This means it could be used to regulate oxygen supply in fuel cells or create devices like face masks that use layers of the material to provide pure oxygen to a person directly from the air, without the need of other equipment.
Even more interestingly, the material may also be configured in a device that could absorb oxygen directly from water and allow a diver to stay submerged for long periods of time,withoutthe need for bulky air tanks.
“This could be valuable for lung patients who today must carry heavy oxygen tanks with them,” explains Professor McKenzie. “But also divers may one day be able to leave the oxygen tanks at home and instead get oxygen from this material as it ‘filters’ and concentrates oxygen from surrounding air or water. A few grains contain enough oxygen for one breath, and as the material can absorb oxygen from the water around the diver and supply the diver with it, the diver will not need to bring more than these few grains.”
Using x-ray diffraction techniques to peer inside the atomic arrangement of the material when it had been filled with oxygen, the scientists realized that once the oxygen has been absorbed it can be stored in the material until it is released by heating the material gently or subjecting it to a vacuum.
“We see release of oxygen when we heat up the material, and we have also seen it when we apply vacuum,” said Professor McKenzie. “We are now wondering if light can also be used as a trigger for the material to release oxygen – this has prospects in the growing field ofartificial photosynthesis.”
There’s no word as yet on any possible commercial production or public availability of the material.
The research was published in the journal of the Royal Society of Chemistry,Chemical Science.
Source:University of Southern Denmark.
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.
Many people with COPD need supplemental oxygen therapy. Unfortunately, some people who use portable oxygen are wary of traveling with oxygen. So they opt to stay at home instead of going out to see friends, shop, or enjoy a vacation.
But oxygen therapy can actually enhance your physical ability to go places and do things that the advance stage of COPD was keeping you from doing. Once you’ve learned what’s involved, you may find that oxygen gives you more freedom to go places and do things you want to do.
Switch to Portable Oxygen Therapy
If you don’t use one already, you’ll need to switch to a portable oxygen delivery system for trips away from home. Portable oxygen concentrators (POCs), hold compressed oxygen in small tanks. Most POC tanks come with carrying cases and travel carts. These are excellent for using in airports or simply going sightseeing.
POCs run on batteries. Some batteries can last up to five hours. POCs also have AC/DC adapters so they can be plugged in when you are in a car or in a location with electrical outlets. The portable oxygen delivery system will allow you to have more freedom to live an active life.
Always keep the phone number of your oxygen supplier close by. You never know when you might have problems with your portable oxygen — whether you’re in town or out of town. Here are more tips on traveling with oxygen:
Land Travel With Portable Oxygen
First, talk with your doctor. Ask if it’s safe for you to travel with COPD. Let your doctor know about your travel destination. This is particularly important if you are traveling to higher altitudes or traveling outside the country.
If you’re going by car or motor home, you’ll have few restrictions in traveling with oxygen. You can take portable oxygen with you in the vehicle if it’s stored safely. Keep your oxygen in the vehicle during travel but away from heat. Partially roll down a window as oxygen containers give off gasses. These gasses can build up in small spaces and be hazardous.
Never store the portable oxygen concentrator in the trunk or other areas that get hot. And make sure no one in the vehicle smokes.
Depending on how far you’re traveling on land, plan ahead to get refills of oxygen. Your oxygen supplier can help you arrange this before you leave.
If you’re taking a bus, call the bus line before the trip. Ask if you can travel with portable oxygen on the bus. Again, make sure no smoking is allowed on the bus you select.
Traveling with oxygen by train should be fine with portable oxygen. Again, call the railway line ahead of time to check on bringing portable oxygen on board. On the train, stay away from smokers (use the “no smoking” cars only). Also, allow for enough oxygen for the trip plus extra for traveling to and from your destinations.
Day Trips and Eating Out With Portable Oxygen
Even with oxygen therapy, you can go to restaurants, shopping malls, movie theaters, symphonies, religious gatherings, and other places. Again, to have a successful day trip with portable oxygen, abide by the rules of safety when traveling with oxygen:
Check the tank before leaving home to make sure you have enough oxygen — enough for the trip to and from the destination, plus extra.
Make sure your oxygen equipment works well.
When you arrive at your destination, do not sit in smoking areas or get near smokers.
Ask to have any candles removed from your table in restaurants.
Cruising With Portable Oxygen
Before you make reservations for a cruise, talk with the cruise line personnel. Ask about the ship’s policies for bringing portable oxygen. Sometimes, supplemental oxygen is provided on the ship. If not, you’ll need to bring plenty of oxygen to last the entire cruise, plus extra.
You may be able to get oxygen refills when the ship docks at each port of call, but ask ahead of time to be sure.
Also, take the appropriate electrical conversion devices for your portable oxygen equipment. While the cruise ships from the U.S. may use standard electrical outlets, converters are especially important to bring when traveling outside the United States.
Air Travel With Oxygen
Many people with COPD must use in-flight supplemental oxygen during air travel. To be able to do this, you will need to make arrangements ahead of time. Here are some guidelines to help you make the trip easier:
Ask the airline about policies on using portable oxygen when you first make your reservation.
Find out which portable oxygen concentrators are approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for use on the flight. Your airline must approve the type of portable oxygen you use in order for you to bring it with you.
If you don’t have the FAA approved type of container, ask your oxygen provider if you can rent an FAA-approved portable oxygen concentrator.
Try to get a nonstop or direct flight to alleviate worries about layovers or missing a connecting flight.
Contact the airlines again 48 hours before takeoff. Remind them that you’re traveling with oxygen. Some airlines must inspect the oxygen tank 48 hours ahead of the flight to approve its use on the plane. Other airlines may provide oxygen to use on the plane for a fee.
Contact your insurance company to see if you need supplementary coverage for traveling with oxygen during your flight.
Get a prescription for supplemental oxygen from your physician and keep this with you — always. This prescription should verify the need for in-flight oxygen and also give specifics on how long oxygen should be used and on the oxygen flow rate. The airlines may have their own forms for your physician to fill out — so be sure to get these filled out early.
At your doctor’s discretion, you may need an increase in the oxygen flow rate during air travel. Be sure you talk to your doctor about this so you have no discomfort breathing when flying at high altitudes.
The airlines may require you to bring ample batteries to power your POC. Make sure your battery lasts 50% longer than the total time of your trip — from the time you leave your home until you arrive at your final destination. You don’t want to have any gaps in getting necessary oxygen for COPD.
DON’T LET THE USE OF OXYGEN CONFINE YOU!
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The following International airlines approve the Inogen One, SeQual Eclipse and the Respironics EverGo: Air France, Air Canada, El Al Airlines, Alitalia, SAS Airlines, Lufthansa, Qantas, All Nipon Airways, ATA Airlines, Cathey Pacific, Icelandair, Norwegian, LTU International, Singapore Airlines, Swiss International, and Virgin Atlantic.
Many satisfied customers have used OxygenWorldwide for travelling to destinations such as Norway for their portable oxygen needs.
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