The official blog of the Lung Institute.
As the peak of the holiday travel season grows near, millions of people are making necessary travel arrangements, so they can be with their loved ones. This time of year can be stressful for any traveler, especially for those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or for those who travel with supplemental oxygen. But for those traveling with oxygen and COPD, there is hope. With your health in mind, here are some tips for traveling with oxygen and COPD:
Basic COPD Travel Tips
Pack ample amounts of COPD medication: Bring more than the minimum number of doses you’ll need for the trip. This ensures you’ll be taken care of in case of any delays in your departure or arrival to your destination.
Look up doctors, hospitals and clinics at your destination in case of emergencies: Complications to COPD symptoms or flare-ups happen. That’s why you know where to go in case of a medical emergency. Ask your primary care physician or pulmonologist if he or she has any healthcare provider recommendations.
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 oxygen 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.
Cruise Travel Tips
Contact your cruise provider: Alert your cruise provider that you will be traveling with supplemental oxygen. That way they will brief you on their 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.
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.
Traveling with Oxygen and COPD and Taking Care of You
The idea of traveling with oxygen and COPD can seem daunting, but with proper planning, you’ll be fine. For those suffering from COPD, emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis and other chronic lung diseases, there are many conventional treatment options which may help for some, but do little for some.
That is why people are turning to stem cell therapy as an alternative treatment option. With stem cell therapy, the patient’s own body is used to help with symptom management and improve quality of life. If you or a loved one have a chronic lung disease and is interested in learning more about stem cell therapy, please contact one of our patient coordinators at (800) 729-3065 to see if you qualify.