Traveling With COPD
Browse articles:
Auto Beauty Business Culture Dieting DIY Events Fashion Finance Food Freelancing Gardening Health Hobbies Home Internet Jobs Law Local Media Men's Health Mobile Nutrition Parenting Pets Pregnancy Products Psychology Real Estate Relationships Science Seniors Sports Technology Travel Wellness Women's Health
Browse companies:
Automotive Crafts, Hobbies & Gifts Department Stores Electronics & Wearables Fashion Food & Drink Health & Beauty Home & Garden Online Services & Software Sports & Outdoors Subscription Boxes Toys, Kids & Baby Travel & Events

Traveling With COPD

COPD refers to several diseases that include emphysema which destroys the air sacs of the lungs and chronic bronchitis which lasts for three months or more, leads to inflammation and scars the bronchial tubes. According to the National Institute of Health COPD is on the rise. There are 12 million current suffers of the disease and another 12 million that have not yet been diagnosed.

COPD refers to several diseases that include emphysema which destroys the air sacs of the lungs and chronic bronchitis which lasts for three months or more, leads to inflammation and scars the bronchial tubes.

According to the National Institute of Health COPD is on the rise. There are 12 million current suffers of the disease and another 12 million that have not yet been diagnosed.

But this does not mean that a person with COPD has to be homebound.

If you check with your doctor before hand traveling whether by ground, air or sea should not be a problem.  Get an honest idea of what you will need while on the road.

You are more likely to catch influenza while traveling so it is a good idea to get an influenza shot and a pneumococcal conjugate (PVC13) vaccine to protect against pneumonia. COPD patients are more susceptible to pneumonia, an inflammation of the lungs, which leads to unexpected hospital stays. Make sure any other immunizations are up to date as well.

It is a good idea to have all equipment that you used checked before traveling.  You will want compressors and oxygen concentrators to be in working order. Having a concentrator before the trip will let you know if you will be able to handle it on your own or will need assistance getting to the plane. There are portable battery operated concentrators that are about the size of a laptop and weigh about 15-20 pounds. Battery power of 150% of your scheduled flight time is required by The Federal Aviation Administration.

High altitudes can trigger shortness of breath so it is a good idea to discuss your destination with your doctor. The air being thinner at higher altitudes makes oxygen concentrations lower. You may feel sleepy and your blood oxygen levels go out of whack. At these higher altitudes you will want to exercise lighter and use extra oxygen.

Avoid smoggy areas such as Phoenix, Pittsburgh or Los Angeles. When traveling in the car you may want to use the air conditioning and keep the windows up to avoid smog and exhaust fumes that will irritate your lungs.

You will want to call the airline’s help desk ahead of time to get permission from the carrier for use of a airline allowed oxygen compressor. You won’t be able to use your own on the plane. You will need to show medical necessity and get permission from the carrier. This will need to be done at least 48 hours before the flight.

It is a very good idea to arrive at the airport early. This part of the trip may be the hardest on a COPD patient due to all the walking, going through the screening and getting to the plane on time. Some carriers expect you to be there an hour early. 

You will have to get into the special screening line and have your equipment checked through airport security checkpoints. The Transportation Security Agency does allow nebulizers and respirators and such respiratory related equipment.

You will have to have a doctor’s note to show necessity to remain connected to an oxygen compressor while you go through the screening and until you get to the gate. After that you will need to change to a concentrator on the plane.

You will also need to arrange for a person to pick up the compressor equipment at the gate. This has to be arranged 48 hours ahead of time. If you are having someone meet you at your destination or at a layover this same rule applies.

Oxygen rules for international carriers vary so its important to do your homework.

Amtrak allows portable oxygen equipment only. Bus line allow them also. If you are traveling internationally on bus lines you will want to check with them individually for some companies limit the amount of canisters they will allow.

You may want to check with your medical supplier for branches you can visit along the way. This is if you are using compressed air tanks or if you have a malfunction with any of your equipment.

If allergen is a COPD trigger you may want to ask for a “allergen free” room when booking your hotel. Some hotels such as Hilton offer them. They mean extra care has been taken to reduce dust and other allergens. Hypoallergenic linens, wood flooring and shades are extra clean in these rooms.

If you plan to be cruising you will want to contact the cruise company 4-6 weeks ahead of time for advance arrangements to use oxygen. You will want to get a letter from your doctor with a brief health history and your most recent oxygen prescription to meet the ships requirements. In case of an emergency you may want to have a copy of this letter available for the onboard doctor.

Cruise ships will be banning smoking in their cabins starting next year(2013). Check with the cruise line because some are still allowing it.

Experts advise COPD patients to take copies of their prescriptions, extra medication incase of delays or being stranded, names of local doctors, numbers for your insurance companies and health care providers, a note from your doctor detailing your oxygen needs and a brief history of your condition, and hand sanitizers and wipes just incase there are other passengers on board who are sick.

All medications, bronchodilators and nebulizers should be in your carry on incase of lost luggage or delays.

 

Need an answer?
Get insightful answers from community-recommended
experts
in Lung Conditions on Knoji.
Would you recommend this author as an expert in Lung Conditions?
You have 0 recommendations remaining to grant today.
Comments (0)
ARTICLE DETAILS
RELATED ARTICLES
RELATED CATEGORIES
ARTICLE KEYWORDS
RECENT SEARCHES ON KNOJI SHOPPING