Billions of us travel by air each year however we are all individuals with varying needs, including a range of medical conditions and all airlines have different policies regarding this. For example some airlines will require a medical certificate to prove that you fit to fly.
The airline needs to ensure that air travel will not worsen or agitate a pre-existing condition and also that the patient’s ailment will not affect the comfort or safety of other passengers on the flight. Regardless of a doctor’s medical certificate the final decision remains with the airline and the captain of the flight and they may still refuse carriage.
A main considering factor involved in this decision making process is the affect of altitude, humidity and oxygen saturation levels during flight. Modern aircraft have a cabin altitude pressure equivalent of between 5,000 and 8,000 feet above sea level. (source: cyprusairways.com) This means that your blood will not be as saturated with oxygen and can affect breathing, cardiac activity, circulation and brain activity. Sometimes during flight, although not normally for long periods of time, a person’s oxygen saturation level can fall to 90%. A healthy individual can tolerate this temporary change with no problems however a patient with cardiac, anaemia or respiratory problems may find themselves in serious difficulties.
Aircraft cabins have low humidity levels that dry out the air; this can cause dryness of the skin or other mucous membranes within the body such as the throat and lungs and affect respiration.
Reduced cabin pressure can also cause gas volume expansion. Any gas that may have inadvertently been introduced to the body during surgery could then expand and cause pain or even perforation through the membrane.
A main deciding factor in whether or not a person may be considered ‘fit to fly’ is their oxygen saturation level. If a person’s saturation level is equal to, or more than 95%, they do not need oxygen for flying. If an asthma sufferer has a stable status then they should be able to fly as long as they keep their medication to hand. Anyone with an active exacerbation of respiratory disease should wait until their condition has improved before considering to fly. Consultation with a doctor or respiratory specialist will aid in ascertaining whether it is wise to fly or whether additional aids or medication would be wise to use during the flight. This may also help to persuade the airline that you are fit to fly.
As passengers sometimes cannot take their own oxygen equipment on board due to regulatory requirements although this is changing and more and more POC’s (portable oxygen concentrators) are allowed on board of the aircraft.
If a passenger has used oxygen provided by the airline company he or she will have to pre-arrange oxygen at the end of the flight. OxygenWorldwide does provide an Airport Service where they have somone waiting at the door of the aircraft to hand over a portable oxygen device so one can travel onwards to their hotel or other holiday destination.
Please check with OxygenWoldwide for availability on your destination
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:
- Cigarette smoking
- 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.
- Stop smoking.
- 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.
- 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.
- compressed oxygen cylinders
- liquid oxygen in cylinders
- an oxygen concentrator machine, which extracts oxygen from the air
- Oxygen cylinders
Just because you need to travel with medical oxygen, this need not restrict the opportunities to travel overseas it just takes a little bit more planning. Flying with a Disability offers you the following advice to ensure a safe, happy flight.
Travellers who require oxygen for medical use are, unfortunately, subject to a charge per bottle. This rate varies between airline, and can be quite expensive. You will need to contact the airline at least 48hrs prior to flying to advise the flow rate, and to get full medical clearance, though this tends to be minor technicality.
Charges for portable medical oxygen can vary greatly, usually between £30 and £100 ($50 – $150). It is interesting to note that many airlines charge not per canister, but per leg of your trip. So in a flight which involves two legs, you’re going to be charge twice as much a direct flight, despite the fact that you may be covering the same distance in the same length of time.
Economically, therefore, it can work out a lot cheaper if you can organise a direct flight, though this may not always be possible.
If you need help with planning your trip use specialised medical oxygen companies who can help answer all your queries and make your journey stress-free and a safe landing.
There is also some planning whilst safely on the ground with back up services available for portable oxygen concentrators whilst travelling overseas so you can ensure to have a great holiday with medical oxygen.
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.
When travelling at home or abroad OxygenWorldwide make travel as carefree as possible for all our customers who use medical oxygen. With international networks worldwide, a team of advisors who speak many languages plus we are contactable 24/7, you know you are in safe hands.
For all or our customers who use portable oxygen concentrators we also have a Simple Oxygen Solutions back up service that you all can register for FREE OF CHARGE. To find out more please register here.
What do I need to do in advance to travelling?
If you like to travel but have a medical condition that requires you use an oxygen tank, it’s important that your manage the transporting of your tank appropriately so as to avoid obstacles to your plans. Here are some good rules and regulations to become familiar with prior to traveling with oxygen. As a travel oxygen user it is entirely your responsibility to make yourself aware of your airlines requirements regarding use of portable oxygen concentrators on-board the aircraft. Traveling with oxygen does not have to be a hassle.
Please, do not wait until the last minute to notify the airline you will be traveling with oxygen. All the airlines require some advanced notice. All have their own specific requirements that must be met. Some even require a review of your prescription prior to travel. But with proper planning, traveling with oxygen need not be a daunting experience.
There are different rules for trains, planes and other modes of travel, so review with your specific carrier before bring your oxygen tank on-board. Most common carriers require advance notice, so do not appear at the counter to check- in unless you have contacted them earlier about your tank. Some airlines require only 48 hours advance notice while others require seven days. The best rule of thumb is make arrangements as far in advance as possible. All airlines charge for oxygen, but the charges vary. Some charge per canister, but most charge per for each leg of the flight.
The 5 steps to successful travel
#1 Contact your doctor/GP to make sure it is safe for you to be traveling with your medical condition, and if the oxygen tank that you use is also safe for travel. You will not be able to bring your own oxygen on-board with you, so you will have to use oxygen provided by the airlines for the duration of the flight.
#2 Call the airline that you plan to travel in advance of your flight. Ask to speak with special services or the medical department of the carrier in order to make arrangements for to be able bring your tank on board.
#3 Make sure that you confirm that you meet the requirements of the carrier. Confirm with them that they can provide the flow of air you need and whether or not they will provide you with a nasal cannula or mask .
# 4 Confirm all of your arrangements by phone at least 48 hours before your flight boards and make sure to go over all of the rules and regulations that the airlines give you. Typically, the airlines will direct you to a website with rules for those traveling with medical oxygen or they will send you a pamphlet.
# 5 These same steps apply if you are traveling by train or cruise ship. Coordinate with your common carrier beforehand to avoid headaches. If cruising, make sure to contact the company PRIOR TO purchasing tickets, since many cruise lines will not allow oxygen tanks on board.
For all you medical oxygen needs please contact Oxygen Worldwide today and also register for your FREE back up service whilst abroad. Our team are open 24 hours, 7 days a week and also speak many languages.
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!WHY register?
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
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Oxygen Worldwide can, if needed, also arrange oxygen at your destination before your arrival.
Registration form for S.O.S. service
There is no charge for this registration
It’s the stepping stone to three continents: Europe, Asia and Africa. The
island has a rich dramatic history that can be traced back over nine thousand
years.. Floating on the waters of the European Mediterranean, but pointing
longingly towards the shores of Syria, Turkey and Lebanon, Cyprus is an odd
mixture. It is a kaleidoscopic blend: its cultural influences are dominated by
Western Europe, but its geographic proximity to Asia and Africa gives it more
than just a hint of the East. Long coveted by mainland Greece and Turkey, this
small island has its own definite and beguiling character.
Because of this historic and legendary background it is no surprise that Cyprus has developed a character which is quite unique.
Many spend their holidays ‘to see the natural beauty that ranges from golden
beaches and rugged coastlines to rolling hills and forest clad mountains,
dotted with picturesque villages.’ Travel to Cyprus and you will have an
Oxygen Worldwide supplies medical oxygen in holiday destinations like Cyprus,
France, Spain and Turkey but also worldwide. Contact us for any oxygen travel