Its that time of year when the summer vacation or trip across the waters is much closer that planning can commence! With research on things to do, places to see and the final itinerary those who travel with oxygen also have a checklist that cannot be left unplanned.
Here is our top 5 quick tips for those travelling with oxygen:
It is always best to plan as far in advance as possible at least 2 months prior to your holiday. This will allow you enough time to organise oxygen at the destination plus plan and confirm any documentation you may need from your GP.
Check temperature levels of your holiday destination so you can pack appropriate clothing. If hot make sure you keep yourself cool with a sun hat and if cold make sure you pack lots of layers to warm yourself up.
Plan according to your mode of transport whether this is car, train, or plane. Each mode of transport has rules whilst travelling. Especially air travel you may need to obtain ‘fitness to fly’ certificate.
Check that you have the correct volumes and amount of oxygen to last the duration of your holiday – if you are unsure then speak with your oxygen company to check and confirm.
Consider any allergies you have and medications you take. If you are allergic to feathers, ask the hotel if anti-allergy bedding, pillows may be available and also make a note of your medication just in case you happen to fall ill on holiday.
Our experienced and friendly team can answer your questions, queries on getting oxygen and travelling with oxygen in many languages. Do give them a call on email or online enquiry here they will be happy to help!
A great resource over at COPD.net on the safety tips of travelling with oxygen. Do’s
DO fill the portable tank carefully, if using liquid oxygen. Liquid oxygen is extremely cold and can injure your hands, if frost should develop.
DO carry your portable tank only in the case supplied with it.
DO use a cart or holster to carry portable oxygen cylinders.
DO keep your oxygen delivery system out of the bright sunlight or other heat sources.
DO secure your tank, cylinder or portable concentrator so it does not roll around in the car. Liquid tanks should never be laid on their sides; portable cylinders may be.
DO bring extra batteries to power your concentrator.
DON’T put a portable tank inside a backpack or other carry bag.
DON’T place your tank, cylinder or portable concentrator in a car trunk or other tightly enclosed space.
There are quite a few DO’s for you to remember and t is always best to be prepared before embarking on a week or two away on holiday. Any advice needed on arranging oxygen please do just speak with the team at OxygenWorldwide.
The Flu season is upon us and is generally considered to be the worst time of year for COPD patients and others that suffer from respiratory conditions. Because COPD often affects the immune system, as well as the ability to recover from common illnesses, you need to be vigilant to try and protect yourself from catching colds and the flu. Sometimes its difficult to tell whether you’ve just got a cold or the flu, but as both can exacerbate COPD it’s important to be able to distinguish between the two.
A cold usually begins with a sore throat followed by clear, watery nasal drainage, sneezing, fatigue and sometimes a slight fever. A mild cough is a common cold symptom and usually lasts into the second week of the cold. If you are coughing up dark mucus then you may have a bacterial infection and should see your doctor. A more severe fever or other symptoms would indicate that it is more likely to be the flu. With the flu your symptoms are more severe and you can feel very weak and fatigued for up to three weeks.
Each year the typical adult can expect to contract a cold twice and 50% risk of catching the flu. When you have conditions such as COPD your immune system is compromised and the damage to your lungs and airways and reduce the normal effect that the body has at naturally protecting itself from germs. There are lots of tips on how to prevent yourself from getting ill, to avoid exacerbations and to cut short the duration and reduce symptoms of your illness.
Eat yogurt for breakfast
The same live cultures that help ease digestive distress can help stave off a cold. Scientists found that people who consumed probiotics had 12 percent fewer upper respiratory infections. Research also showed that the group that took a probiotic supplement with Lactobacillus rhamnosus recovered two days earlier and had symptoms that were 34 percent less severe.
Open a window
Spending the day in a stuffy room with anyone who’s under the weather raises your risk of catching a bug. Letting a little fresh air circulate keeps airborne viral particles on the move, making them harder to pick up.
Turn away from sneezers
Moving out of firing range is crucial as germs carried in sneeze particles can travel 20 feet.
Stop touching your lips
Not touching your face greatly reduces your odds of getting sick. The average person puts a hand on her mouth or nose more than three times an hour. To break the habit, try sitting on your hands when they’re idle.
Get regular sleep
A study found that subjects who slept for fewer than seven hours were nearly three times as susceptible to colds as people who slept for at least eight hours.
Flush out your nose
Throughout cold season, add this to your night-time routine: Rinse your nose using an over-the-counter nasal irrigator or saline solution as it will help clear out viral particles you’ve breathed in during the day before they take root in your system.
Try taking these within 24hrs of the onset of a cold and it will reduce the duration. You can also eat zinc-rich foods. Zinc is a mineral essential to the cells of the immune system and can boost your libido, help wound healing and prevent excessive inflammation.
Fluids help to thin out the mucus that your body makes when you’re sick and makes it easier to clear out of your system.
Try elderberry extract
A syrup made from these berries has long been used as a folk remedy for viral infections. The berries’ nutrients seem to offer some relief from congestion, aches and pains and can cut short flu symptoms by four days.
Switch on a humidifier
Dry indoor air makes a sore throat and cough even worse. A humidifier helps these symptoms become more bearable by filling the air you breathe with moisture.
Inhale essential oils
Several times a day, add a few drops of thyme or eucalyptus oil to boiling water, then breathe in the aromatic steam. The menthol-like smell should make your airways feel as if they’re opening up. It’s also thought that antimicrobial particles in these essential oils coat the mucous membrane lining the nasal cavity.
A bit of light exercise such as walking or yoga can make you feel better and boost your circulation but don’t overdo it as your body needs to conserve energy to fight off the virus.
Gargle with warm salt water
Salt helps kill pathogens and by coating your throat with a salt solution (1/2 teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water) will ease inflammation and loosen mucus, which helps flush out germs.
Heat up chicken soup
The steam helps open stuffed-up nasal passages, and the salty broth can soothe a sore throat. Research published found that chicken soup has properties that slow the movement of infection-fighting white blood cells; when they move more slowly, they spend more time in the areas of the body that need them most.
Have a spoonful of honey
Honey is believed to be antimicrobial, and its thick, syrupy consistency coats and soothes an irritated throat.
Prop yourself up
When you lie on your back, mucus collects in your sinus cavities, which can lead to secondary infections or chronic sinusitis. Instead, try resting and sleeping at a 45-degree angle. Sitting up slightly will also help blood flow away from the head reducing inflammation of the sinuses and nose.
General tips this flu season include:
Washing your hands regularly. Something as simple as a shopping trolley handle, or even a doorknob, can harbour germs. These germs are then entered into our respiratory tract when we touch our face. Washing your hands regularly will reduce the likelihood of catching an illness.
Avoid people who are sick. Avoid being in crowded places in public where possible, perhaps go shopping in quieter periods. Consider wearing a surgical masks when you are around large groups of people during peak cold and flu seasons.
Diet is very important in COPD management. Aa person with COPD uses a large amount of calories just to breathe and it is important that you get enough “healthy” calories each day to offset this deficit. You should be eating balanced meals and they should also be smaller and more frequent throughout the day. Large meals can actually cause breathlessness (if you use oxygen, wear it while you eat) and digesting large meals actually consumes a large amount of calories that you need to breathe.
Get into a regular exercise Doing a little bit each day will improve your health and medical conditions and help to prevent contracting any more illnesses however ensure it is an exercise routine that is safe, comfortable and effective for you. Talk to your doctor for suggested exercise types that would suit you.
References: www.copdfoundation.org and http://edition
Those who suffer with COPD or other respiratory diseases may find it difficult trying to get a full night’s sleep. It is even more important for COPD sufferers than non-affected individuals to try and get a proper night’s sleep as your body tires easily during the day from trying to complete basic daily tasks and activities let alone if you are tired from not having slept the night before. A good night’s sleep will enable your body to have more energy so that you can socialize, perform normal daily tasks, breathe better and have an improved quality of life. In the summer months it can be particularly more difficult to try and sleep with the warm humid nights and external noises. However it is in these months that many people want to go out and do more activities to enjoy the good weather, so getting a full night’s sleep in the summer is particularly important.
There are also long term health benefits of sleeping, a lack of sleep has been linked to obesity and diabetes but also now research has shown that a lack of sleep can affect your long-term mental health and can cause memory problems and increase the risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
A study in mice has shown that even brief periods of sleep deprivation can disrupt the chemical pathways in an area of the brain called the Hippocampus and affect the levels of certain enzymes and molecules, which resulted in a decrease of memory function.
Researchers from The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health have linked disturbed sleep to cognitive impairment in older individuals. Their study suggested that reduced sleep and poor sleep quality may be linked to an increased build-up of beta-amyloid plaques in the brains of older adults, which is a major sign of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). AD is the most common form of dementia and almost half of older adults with the disorder report insomnia-based symptoms.
These studies suggest that whether you are young or old it is important to get a decent period of undisturbed sleep each night to prevent any imbalances/build-up of certain molecules within your brain, which long-term can potentially lead to a variety of mental disorders from memory impairment to Dementia.
Tips to help you sleep:
1. Talk to your GP about whether you need oxygen at night or how best to use/monitor your current night time oxygen prescription. If your oxygen levels remain stable through the night you will awaken less often.
2. Some people find that using oxygen at night to be awkward or noisy but there is newer technology that is a lot quieter and more user friendly-it may be that you can talk to your oxygen machine supplier and get yourself an upgrade.
3. Also talk to your GP if you think that you may suffer from Sleep Apnea. Ask about CPAP or another non-invasive, positive-pressure ventilation. This can help improve oxygen saturation levels during the day and night.
4. Try to clear your airways during the day so they are clear at bedtime. To do so, try coughing or huffing (take a breath in and forcefully exhale, like “huffing” onto a mirror/window to steam it up). Huffing is not as forceful as a cough but it can work better and be less tiring.
5. Don’t forget to review your medications with your GP, as some may cause side effects that can keep you up at night.
6. Practice pursed-lip breathing while lying in bed to help you relax and drift to sleep.
Some other more generic tips:
1. Keep your bedroom cool, dark and cozy. Without distractions, you can fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
2. Do not use your bed for working, chatting on the phone or watching television. Use it only for sleeping.
3. Avoid caffeine after lunchtime.
4. Wear loose, comfortable clothing to bed.
5. Try to go to bed and wake up around the same time every day, even weekends. When your body has a sleep cycle to rely on, rest comes more naturally.
References: www.domorewithoxygen.com and www.nursingtimes.net and www.medicalnewstoday.com
Tips For The Use Of Supplemental Oxygen
1. Keep away from any flame or spark such as gas stoves, fireplaces and candles. Even electric razors can cause sparks so do not use your oxygen whilst shaving. Oxygen isn’t flammable but it is combustible and can aid in the starting of a fire.
2. Do not allow any smoking anywhere near. Some people put signs up in their homes for visitors to let them know.
3. When cooking try not to wear loose fitting clothes and stay as far away from the heated surface as possible.
4. Avoid using any aerosol products as they can ignite in the presence of a spark.
5. Do not allow flammable liquids to get on your clothing or body as unless washed thoroughly, these could become a hazard.
6. Do not place your oxygen concentrator in an unventilated area, such as a closet. Not only does the concentrator generate a lot of heat but it uses the surrounding air to produce oxygen so the oxygen in the atmosphere will quickly become depleted in small spaces.
7. Secure all cylinders to prevent them from falling over. A falling oxygen cylinder can cause damage to the valve, releasing the pressure, which may cause it to become a dangerous projectile.
8. Call your electric company to inform them that you are using oxygen. Firstly some electric companies have a program that allows a reduction of your rates to help lower the cost of running the air concentrator. Secondly, they will generally put you first in line when restoring power after an outage. They may also be able to provide specialist adaptors or devices to aid you with your mobility and medical equipment to make life easier.
9. Oxygen hoses can be a tripping hazard so try to have your concentrator in a position for maximum mobility but also where the hose will not cause you or others to trip. Use a coloured hose to make it more visible.
10. Keep the hoses clean and replace on a regular basis. Make sure the filters are replaced regularly, wipe it down with a damp cloth to remove dust and clean tubing to prevent mould if you use water to humidify your oxygen. Ensure you have an emergency plan arranged in case there is a power outage.
• Inform your power company that you are oxygen-dependent. Many companies offer oxygen-dependent patients priority service and will inform you of upcoming maintenance/outages and ensure your power is restored as a priority.
• Collaborate with your oxygen supply company. Ask them to help you determine exactly how much oxygen you will need in case of an emergency power outage. They may also provide you with an emergency cylinder.
• Contact your local police and fire departments to let them know that you are oxygen-dependent.
• Talk to your doctor about reducing your oxygen flow rate during an emergency. This may help buy you some time and extend the life of your oxygen supply.
• Consider installing your own emergency generator, especially if you live in a remote location.
• Organize a support team of family or friends whom you can call in case of an emergency.
http://blog.copdfoundation.org and http://copd.about.com and www.southern-electric.co.uk