How To Travel With Oxygen? Tips For Patients Using Oxygen Therapy

People with respiratory problems who use oxygen therapy as part of their treatment need to plan their trips in a special way. Summer is already coming to an end and, with it, many people’s vacations. However, September is still a month in which you can enjoy the outdoors and the beaches with greater tranquility.

When we have a chronic respiratory disease, in which a fundamental part of the treatment is the use of oxygen therapy, things seem to get complicated and the desire to leave the house is diminished. If this is your case, and you have not yet traveled, take a look at the following tips to make planning easier.

Prepare A Trip If You Are A Respiratory Patient

Travel planning is always important, but if you have a respiratory illness, it is even more so.

Where are we going?

  • There are certain destinations that are not advisable for respiratory patients, such as places at altitudes above 1,500 meters. At these heights, there is a lower concentration of oxygen in the atmosphere, so respiratory problems can increase.
  • It is also not advisable to go to places with extreme temperatures or high environmental pollution.
  • If you are allergic, keep in mind which allergens trigger your symptoms when planning your vacation. For example, do not go to a hotel or house that accepts pets, if you are allergic to any type of animal; avoid places and times where there is a lot of plant pollen if it affects you; If you are allergic to humidity, you may have to rule out beach destinations or not travel during the seasons with more rainfall or a higher degree of humidity…

What is clear is that the choice of destination has to depend on your current state of health. Therefore, consult your doctor before traveling; he will know how to indicate the convenience or not of that vacation spot.

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Your reports and medication

  • Before you travel, talk to your doctor, who will assess whether you are in a stable phase of your respiratory problem. In addition, it can provide you with an updated report on your health, which it is recommended that you always carry with you, and the necessary prescriptions so that you do not miss your medication at any time.
  • Remember to put in your health card, if you travel through Spain, or the appropriate health accreditation or insurance if you go abroad.
  • It is essential that you have located the health centers of the place where you are going so that you can go in an emergency.
  • If you are a user of oxygen therapy, you have to guarantee that you will have the necessary oxygen supply at your destination. Even if you have a portable hub, it is not enough to stay away from home for several days. For this reason, when you want to travel, notify your supply company in advance so that they can explain the procedures you must carry out and provide you with the details of the oxygen supply company at your destination, in the event that they cannot offer you the service.
  • Ask your doctor if it would be necessary to vary your oxygen administration pattern, maybe you have to vary the flow or administration time.
  • If you travel by means of transport other than your own car, do not forget to check with the travel agency, the airline, the shipping company, or the bus or train company what you have to do to be able to use or carry your oxygen.

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In What Means Of Transport Do, We Make The Trip?

In principle, if your doctor does not tell you otherwise, you can travel by any means of transport. What you should take into account is the recommended oxygen source in each case.

The plane

  • On the plane, the only source of oxygen allowed is the portable concentrator, but keep in mind that each airline has its requirements, so do not forget to check with the airline and the travel agency beforehand.
  • Also, not all hubs are allowed; only certain brands can be used. Check if your equipment is one of those allowed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
  • It is recommended, even if the flight is short, that you take your medication with you. The flight can be delayed but you have to take your medication, so if you check it in the suitcase, it can be lost. To be able to take it on the plane and use it during the flight, you will have to accompany it with an updated medical report. Check how you have to wear it.
  • It is advisable to declare both the oxygen concentrator and the ventilatory support equipment (CPAP, BIPAP, ventilator) that you have to take on your trip to customs so that there are no problems when you return. In all these cases, do not forget to bring an updated medical report, a certificate from the supplying company and inform the airline.

The car

  • It is one of the most suitable means of transport because it allows you to carry your portable concentrator plugged into the vehicle’s cigarette lighter. On a short trip, you could take the liquid oxygen backpack or the portable bottle if you prefer.
  • If you do not have to use it during the trip, do not put it in the trunk to avoid exposure to high temperatures.
  • During the trip, have the correct air conditioning, do not let any of the passengers smoke inside the car, as there may be a risk of explosion, and travel with the windows slightly open to avoid the accumulation of gases.

Train or bus


In this case, the best device is the portable hub, as it can be carried and plugged into existing outlets. In any case, do not forget to notify the corresponding company in advance.

Ship

After notifying the shipping company, the system of choice could be the portable concentrator. In long-term cruises, liquid oxygen could be used, if the company’s regulations allowed it.

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