The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Travel Tips with Lung Disease While on Supplemental 02
As beautiful weather approaches, millions of people are finalizing their travel plans to be with their family and loved ones. For those living on supplemental oxygen, the idea of traveling great distances can seem like a daunting task, but fear not. No matter if it’s by land, air, or sea, it’s possible to travel comfortably while on supplemental oxygen. Below are some travel tips for people with lung disease while on supplemental 02.
The Basics on Supplemental 02
Supplemental oxygen, or supplemental 02, is used when lung function has reduced to the point where additional oxygen is needed to continue normal bodily functions. Supplemental 02 can improve mental alertness and stamina, and prevent heart failure in people with severe lung disease, such as emphysema.
Supplemental 02 comes in two forms: compressed oxygen and liquid oxygen. Compressed oxygen is more common and comes in tanks, while liquid oxygen comes in truly liquid form- achieving greater portability, but with a shorter shelf life.
Air Travel Tips
Check with your primary physician: Before you book any travel plans, make sure to check with your primary care provider to see if you are physically fit for air travel with lung disease.
Get there early: Supplemental 02 or not, getting through airport security can be challenging. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to get through security without feeling rushed to make a flight.
Choose a direct flight: Avoid the hassle of changing flights to make a connecting flight by securing a direct flight. If a direct flight isn’t an option, try to secure a flight where you don’t have to get off the plane.
Check your oxygen levels when in the air: According to the University of California San Francisco Medical Center, some people may become hypoxemic, or suffer from low levels of oxygen, during air travel. A simple pulse oximeter reading while in high altitude, at rest, and during activity can determine how much oxygen is needed during the flight. Also keep in mind that air pressure drops as altitude increases.
Car Travel Tips
Keep your portable power supply chargers handy: Keep your AC and DC power supplies on you while traveling. That way there will be no fear of running out of power.
Properly store oxygen tanks: Position the tanks in the upward position and check for leaks before embarking on the trip.
Research oxygen suppliers along your route: In case of emergency, keep the contact information of several portable oxygen suppliers handy.
Boat Travel Tips
Contact your cruise provider: Alert your cruise provider that you will be traveling with supplemental o2. That way they will brief you on their particular guidelines and procedures.
Obtain a prescription and doctor’s release form: Most cruise lines will ask for release forms from your doctor approving you for travel.
Bring ample amounts of oxygen: Do not risk cutting it close by bringing the bare minimum number of oxygen tanks required. Bring as many as you can in case of emergency.
If you or a loved one suffers from COPD, or any lung disease, the Lung Institute may be able to help with a variety of stem cell treatment options. Contact us at (800) 729-3065 find out if you qualify for stem cell therapy.