Better Breathers Meeting of May 2013: Traveling with Oxygen |
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Speaker: Brooke Wilder of Lincare, Reported by JD Meyer
Traveling with oxygen is something else that COPD patients need to learn about. Lincare is a company with offices all over the country. It's possible to give them a call in the city where you're going; do it two weeks in advance.They could have an oxygen machine waiting for you. This is a good practice for someone like me who only needs oxygen while sleeping. Still don't skip having an oxygen machine handy because nighttime oxygen will help you cope with a busy holiday.
However, if you need oxygen more often, here are some tips. Don't put your tank in the trunk because it will get hot, and it's not ventilated. Keep your oxygen tank in the back seat, and crack a window. You can have no more than a 150 cubic feet container of oxygen in the car.
Let your doctor know if you're going to a place with a high elevation, such as Denver. They'll need to adjust your machine to cope with the thinner air. Humidity and air pollution are other considerations. Find out if the bus, plane, or taxi has restrictions on oxygen use. Lincare can meet you at the airport.
Bring prescriptions when you travel. In Texas, you need one re-certification for oxygen therapy a year after first getting a machine. Other states require re-certification every year to keep your machine.
Some folks like me have a concentrator. It extracts oxygen from the air and increases the percentage from 22% to 90%. A concentrator is shaped like a big rectangular box about the height of the bed. Then the oxygen tubes go up your nostrils just like the attachment with oxygen tanks. Here's an important tip that Brooke Wilder gave us: Have your oxygen provider clean the filter of your machine every few months. Otherwise, you could be breathing polluted air and get your machine overheated. Picture a dirty air filter for your home air conditioner.
Don't neglect cleaning your albuterol nebulizer either. Ms. Wilder suggested three parts water and one part vinegar. Immerse the whole nebulizer cup and mouthpiece. Replace every six months. Do this at least once a day or else there is a bacteria risk.
We received a flyer from Lincare entitled, "Passport: Oxygen Travel Planner." Our lunch featured lasagna and a sald with plenty of tomato slices, green olives, and feta cheese. Next month's Better Breathers luncheon is “What You Need to Know About CHF (Congestive Heart Failure)” by David McCaskill. Preferred Home Medical will provide lunch. It will be on June 4th from 12—2 at the Wisenbaker Conference Center at Trinity Mother Frances. Debbie Germany is the coordinator for Better Breathers.