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June 7, 2022

Oxygen Therapy: What You Need to Know

Oxygen is the primary gas that the body uses to survive and function. An ample supply of oxygen to the brain keeps one conscious and alert and keeps the internal organs functioning optimally. And while the oxygen that people breathe suffices the requirement of the body in a normal individual, those who suffer from cardiopulmonary diseases or lung conditions require medical oxygen to assist with their oxygen intake.


So the use of long-term oxygen therapy has been on the rise since pulse oximetry has made it easy to detect conditions like hypoxemia. They provide oxygen therapy in a controlled hospital setting which is extremely beneficial to patients. However, it might be an issue for outpatients that require supplemental oxygen, especially when they must travel. So this article discusses the best form of oxygen therapy and the considerations a patient must make while travelling under such conditions.

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The Need for Oxygen Therapy

Long-term oxygen therapy or taking supplemental oxygen supply is the most successful method to improve the survival of patients living with conditions like hypoxemia, interstitial lung disease, cystic fibrosis, pulmonary neoplasms, bronchiectasis and obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Other diseases that come along with hypoxemia include congestive heart failure, sleep apnea, and pulmonary hypertension. So oxygen therapy can improve their quality of life, exercise capacity, and cognitive function.


Reports from Australian hospitals show that patients who undergo oxygen therapy visit the hospital less frequently. The positive benefits of oxygen motivate them to welcome a therapy that enhances their memory and cognitive functioning. However, they must undergo the treatment under the supervision and consultation of medical professionals to monitor their progress as shortness of breath is indicative of the need for oxygen assistance.

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Efficient Ways to Administer Oxygen

The most common way to deliver medical oxygen is via the nasal cannula, and most patients prefer this method to supply the prescribed oxygen level to their lungs. Meanwhile, it might be concerning for those who breathe with their mouths, but the practitioners can reassure them that the supply would help with their breathing. The patients can drink, eat or even take showers with a nasal cannula.


Some long-term oxygen therapy patients might not be able to tolerate the nasal cannula for an extended period. In such cases, medical professionals also use a transtracheal catheter as an option. Adaptation and adherence to oxygen therapy can improve the quality of life.

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Travelling With the Condition

Having a breathing condition must not come in the way of the day-to-day routines of a patient or their family time as they travel during the holidays. All one needs is extra planning, consultation and research to make it safe and comfortable. So here are some things the patients must consider:


1.    Consult Their Assigned Healthcare Professional

Before deciding to travel with their breathing condition, the patients must first consult their doctor to determine their fitness to travel. As such, the doctor might suggest taking some additional tests to ensure safety.


2.    Medical Requirements During Air Travel

The reduced air pressure inside the aircraft might affect the blood oxygen level of patients with lung conditions. And some who suffer from a lung disease might require supplementary medical oxygen while travelling by flight, even if they do not need it at home. So they must consult their doctor and undergo a high-altitude simulation test to determine their oxygen requirement during the flight. And if they have any prescribed medication or are undergoing any oxygen treatment, they must carry the equipment accordingly.

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3.    Check With the Airlines About the Conditions of Travelling

Many travelling agencies and airlines require a letter from the doctor to reassure one’s wellness to travel and additional support requirements. They might require proof that the patient is fit to travel. Patients must also consider destinations that are suitable for their condition.





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