The following is an excerpt from LUNGEVITY Newsletter (May-June 2009, Volume 17, Issue 3) by Chris Garvey FNP, MSN, MPA at Seton Medical Center


You Are Now Free to Move about the Country

On May 15, 2009, persons requiring oxygen during air travel will be allowed to bring FAA approved portable oxygen concentrators or POCs on domestic flights as well as flights that depart from or arrive in the US. Discuss with your physician prior to travel if you need oxygen for air travel and if you are medically safe to fly. If you buy or rent a POC, be sure you understand how it works, how to charge and replace batteries, how long batteries will last and the amount of time needed to recharge them.

Contact the airline in advance to advise them that you will be using a POC. Find out their procedure for documenting that oxygen is needed during air travel. Plan on bringing a prescription for the oxygen on your physician's letter head or the airline's official form. Find out in advance if the airline will charge you to bring a POC on board. Request a wheelchair or assistance in advance for navigating through the terminal. Arrive at the airport well in advance of your flight. When in the airport terminal, use AC power to run the POC in order to conserve battery power. Carry enough spare batteries with you to last during the flight and surplus battery power for delays, layovers, etc. Request an aisle seat for ease of movement. If you book a connecting flight, use the layover to recharge batteries. Approved POCs include the Evergo by Respironics, Eclipse by Sequal and XPO2 by Invacare.  Other approved POCs include AirSep FreeStyle and Lifestyle, evo Central Air and Inogen One. For information on the final rule, see www.regulations.gov docket number DOT-OST 2004-19482.

TRAVELING WITH LUNG DISEASE

When planning a trip, pick a safe, healthy destination. High elevations may translate into lower blood oxygen levels for some with lung disorders. Avoid areas with heavy pollution. Consult with your doctor before you leave about medications and if you need to bring any medical records with you.

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