While there is no cure for COPD, there are treatment options that can drastically improve quality of life for thousands. During the month of November for COPD Awareness Month, the American Lung Association is highlighting the value of supplemental oxygen, or oxygen therapy, a treatment option that may be prescribed by a doctor.
Living with a chronic lung disease and the stress of struggling to breathe can be taxing for both the individual and their loved ones. Lack of sufficient oxygen can result in fatigue and make simple tasks a struggle. Oxygen therapy can help circulate more oxygen into the bloodstream, helping people breathe easier and stay more active
Several devices can deliver oxygen at home, and oxygen equipment can also attach to other medical equipment such as CPAP machines and ventilators. If you or someone you know is living with COPD, keep these tips in mind for oxygen therapy.
• Safety. While oxygen therapy is safe it does contribute to flammability as materials in oxygen-enriched environments burn more readily. Proper storage, along with avoiding aerosols, heat and flames will help keep you safe.
• Travel. With supplemental oxygen you are able to travel whether it be by car, train, plane or boat. Make sure to connect with your mode of transportation prior to departure to learn their policies and procedures for carrying oxygen. You’ll also want to make sure you’re able to access additional oxygen once you reach your destination.
• Support. If you have additional questions you can contact registered nurses, respiratory therapists and counselors on the Lung Association’s Lung HelpLine available at 1-800-LUNGUSA or through chat at Lung.org/helpline.
Holly Harvey/American Lung Association