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Using Oxygen Safely While Traveling

oxygen safely while traveling

Get copies of oxygen prescriptions from the health care provider who diagnosed the need to use oxygen, and make sure there is not any other needed paperwork. Depending on the means of travel, make prior arrangements for oxygen at the end of the destination. With some forms of transportation oxygen may travel with you. Before traveling, call a local company to find out the requirements for traveling with oxygen. Leave plenty of time to make those needed arrangements.

Traveling By Auto with Oxygen

Just as if there is a pet in the car, it is necessary to keep windows cracked open for the air to circulate. When using liquid oxygen, place the canister upright on the floor or on the seat. Secure it with a seat belt or tie it securely to the back of the seat. Store any extra oxygen canisters behind the seat: do not put them in the trunk as temperatures there can rise too high. Do not smoke or let anyone else smoke in a car with oxygen.

Traveling By Bus or Train with Oxygen

Call the bus or train depot in advance and report the need for oxygen. Most likely, the oxygen tank can go along. Some transportation companies require a copy of the prescription prior to entry onto the train or bus. Being without oxygen, even for a short time, can be dangerous, so preparation ahead of time is crucial.

Traveling By Plane with Oxygen

Call the airline in advance to make arrangements: oxygen tanks may not be allowed on the airplane. However, airlines may supply oxygen for a fee. Be aware that the airline's oxygen will only be available on the plane; oxygen is required for the airport. Call the local medical equipment company to arrange to have oxygen delivered at the airport, as well as for any layovers during the flight.

Traveling By Ship with Oxygen

Most cruise ships will allow personal oxygen to come along. It is advisable to call the cruise ship prior to boarding, and make arrangements. The shipping line will need a letter from a health care provider including a medical history, and a copy of the oxygen prescription. Arrange to have oxygen delivered at the ship, as well as to any layovers during the cruise.

Traveling Dos and Don'ts

Always keep open flames at least five feet away from stored oxygen or oxygen in use. This includes cigarettes, pipes, matches, candles, or fireplaces. Keep oxygen at least five feet away from any other source of heat like space heaters, furnaces, and radiators. When not in use keep the oxygen canister completely turned off. It is advisable to keep a fire extinguisher at hand, and know how to use it.

Never smoking near oxygen. Post a "no smoking" sign near oxygen tanks. Never use oxygen while cooking with gas. Do not spray air freshener or hairspray near oxygen: aerosols are highly flammable. Using vapor rub, petroleum jelly near oxygen is dangerous as oil-based products are flammable as well.

A good place to start making plans to travel with oxygen is with a local supplier. Chain suppliers usually can help by communicating with their offices in other towns to make arrangements. Many are part of a network that can make a trip comfortable and safe.

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