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.
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.
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.
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.
Different train companies have different policies regarding people with disabilities, so plan your route in advance and find out which companies’ trains you need.
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.
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
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 at www.oxygenworldwide.com and register for our SOS back up service.
How does an Oxygen Concentrator work?
An Oxygen Concentrator uses the ambient air, which is normally 80% nitrogen and only 20% Oxygen. The oxygen concentrator separates the two components by using zeolite granules to selectively absorb nitrogen from the compressed air. The compressor raises the air pressure to about 20-lbs per square inch (P.S.I). The compressed air is introduced into one of the canisters containing zeolite granules where nitrogen is selectively absorbed leaving the residual oxygen available for patient use. After about 20 seconds the supply of compressed air is automatically diverted to the second canister where the process is repeated enabling the output of oxygen continue uninterrupted.
While the pressure in the second canister is at 20 P.S.I. the pressure in the first canister is reduced to zero. This allows nitrogen to be released from the zeolite and returned into the atmosphere. The zeolite is then regenerated and ready for the next cycle. By alternating the pressure in the two canisters so that first one and then the other is at 20 P.S.I., a constant supply of oxygen is produced while the zeolite is continually being regenerated. Individual units have an output of up to five litres per minute with an oxygen concentration of up to 95%. What is Zeolite? The word ‘zeolite’ is Greek in origin and means ‘boiling stones’ as natural zeolites visibly lose water when heated. Zeolite is an inorganic porous material having a highly regular structure of pores and chambers that allows some molecules to pass through, and causes others to be either excluded, or broken down. It is in many ways, the inorganic equivalent of organic enzymes, many of which also have specific sized chambers that trap chemicals within our bodies, holding them where they either break down, or react with specific chemicals. Zeolite has many uses.
Who uses O2 concentrators?
COPD Patients suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), an illness with disabling symptoms, high cost of care, and substantial mortality. COPD is an obstructive airway disease that is characterized by a reduction noted on the individual’s pulmonary function study. The term COPD is often applied to a family of diseases, including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and alpha 1-antitrypsin disease. Currently, therapeutic interventions can slow the progression of these diseases, but they cannot stop or reverse it.
Oxygen concentrators dramatically extends the use time from a supply of oxygen, offering increased mobility with improved comfort and increased efficiency. The short pulse of oxygen delivered during inhalation is almost undetectable, and the humidity in the room air helps maintain a normal level of moisture in the nasal cavity. This greatly reduces the discomfort of dehydration associated with a continuous flow oxygen system.
For more information on medical oxygen, oxygen concentrators and traveling abroad please contact Oxygen Worldwide.
Small portable oxygen concentrators & battery life.
When you need a portable oxygen concentrator (POC) you will look most possibly for the smallest one as you don’t want to carry or pull around a large and heavy machine. The Airsep Freestyle is currently the smallest portable oxygen concentrator around but being so small it has the disadvantage that it only gives a flow form 2-3 litres per minute and price wise does it not vary much from other models that give up to 6 litres of oxygen per minute.
The other consideration will most likely be the battery life of portable oxygen concentrators. When people start to shop around for a portable concentrator (POC) they often decide that the Philips Evergo or the Inogen One are the machines to go for. The reason being the number of hours they can use the POC if they are going out as the technical data specifies 8 hour use without recharge. But let’s face it, who is going where that there are no power outlets nearby. One can plug in his or her battery charger at a friends place, in every restaurant, coffee shop not to mention the cigarette lighter in the car. This way the battery does not need to be so big and heavy.
The most popular model at this moment that covers about everybody’s needs is either the Sequal Elcipse 3 (which has both a pulse and constant flow of oxygen but needs to be wheeled around on a trolley) or the Invacare XPO2 which is pulse operated but can be carried around with a shoulder strap.
Delivering Oxygen to people? When I first heard of this I couldn’t work it out. Surely Oxygen is everywhere? Why would you need something which is so readily available? I hold my hands up, I was wrong.
Many, like me, would probably take oxygen for granted. For many others oxygen is imperative for maintaining their health. With Oxygen Worldwide everything is made easy.
Everyone likes to travel the world, but so many obstacles can get in the way. Money, time, health – they all play a part. Oxygen Worldwide eradicates one of them obstacles.
Imagine if you had health problems and require medical oxygen daily to help with your everyday life. It sounds like hard work. Taking that further – imagine if you wanted to go on a trip away for pleasure or even business and need oxygen to get through everyday. Sounds impossible. Oxygen Worldwide can make it happen.
The company, founded in 1993 by a Dutch duo in Alicante, Spain arrange delivery of medical oxygen for individual users, insurance agencies and emergency centres across more than a hundred countries. The process is simple, order your oxygen and they will do the rest. Your oxygen equipment will be waiting for you at your destination. Yes, it is that simple and suddenly your trip is made a whole lot easier because of one simple but ingenious idea – medical oxygen.
Oxygen Worldwide are now a household name in their field. All the big hitting industrial gas suppliers such as Air Products, Linde and Air Liquide are amongst the international network that Oxygen Worldwide work with. All the prestige is there for all to see as the company develops as trusted purveyors of fine oxygen.
Medical problems needn’t get in the way of that trip of a lifetime now as Oxygen Worldwide can play their part. It’s simple but effective. I certainly won’t be sneering at it again.
If you need portable concentrators visit Oxygen WorldWide.