Specialist provider of
Portable and Medical Oxygen Solutions

UK Telephone Number
0870 712 0202 (UK - 24hr)
UK Freephone 9 to 5pm
0800 145 59 02 (UK 9 to 5pm)
International Telephone Number
+44 (0)161 747 2617 (INT)

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What is oxygen?

Oxygen is a non-metallic element that constitutes for 21% of air. In humans, oxygen is primarily absorbed via the lungs and carried around the body in blood cells to provide the key element for cellular activity. The average level of oxygen in the blood is approximately 96% and if this oxygen consumption lowers over time, your health can be affected.

What are the effects of low oxygen?

Low oxygen levels are associated with poor health:

  • Poor concentration and forgetfulness
  • Easily stressed and anxious
  • Shortness of breath when walking short distances
  • Cramping of leg muscles
  • Swollen ankles
  • General fatigue, particularly after eating
  • Re-occurring chest infections
  • Blueness of fingertips and lips

 

(Please note there may be other underlining medical issues behind the symptoms listed above. If you find these symptoms persist, please get medical advice as soon as possible!)

Who commonly uses oxygen?

People with respiratory diseases are the most common users of oxygen, please click here for a list respiratory conditions. Oxygen is also used for heart conditions, cluster headaches, ME, chronic fatigue, MS and cancer patients.

Are there any other conditions oxygen is used for?


Oxygen therapy can be used to treat stubborn infections and can also be used to reduce swelling and speed healing. Small studies and anecdotal reports show that oxygen is also useful as a complementary therapy for diseases such as ME, migraines, spinal cord injuries and it is also being explored for treating autism, tinnitus and epilepsy.

Dr Parris Kidd stated, 'oxygen plays a pivotal role in the proper functioning of the immune system: resistance to disease, bacteria and viruses.'

Dr Stephen Levine mentioned, 'we can look at oxygen deficiency as the single greatest cause of disease.'

Therefore, shortage of oxygen in the blood could be the start of severe health problems.

Do we benefit from oxygen before and whilst flying?

More than half of all air passengers experience significant blood oxygen decrease at high altitudes. The majority of air travellers find their oxygen saturation drops to a level at which many hospital patients would be prescribed extra oxygen, according to the May issue of Anesthesia, the official journal of the Association of Anesthesiologists of Britain and Ireland.

A study by a team of researchers in Belfast found that oxygen levels fell by an average of 4% when people reached cruising altitude. A total of 84 passengers, ranging in age from 1 to 78, had their oxygen saturation levels measured by qualified anaesthetists. From ground-level, average reading was approx. 97% but this fell to 93% at altitude. "We believe that these falling oxygen levels, together with factors such as dehydration, immobility and low humidity, could contribute to illness during and after flights," comments Dr Susan Humphreys, anaesthetic socialist registrar.

This has become a greater problem in recent years, as modern planes are able to cruise at much higher altitudes. Oxygen levels in 54% of those surveyed fell to less than 94% at maximum altitude. Earlier research concluded that a third of physicians would give hospital patients extra oxygen if their oxygen levels were this low.

Is oxygen helpful when exercising?

YES! Oxygen boosts your energy and it helps prevent the lactic acid build up that can hinder recovery time. It also plays a part in repair and growth of muscle tissue.

"Extra oxygen enables you to recover more quickly from exertion. It allows someone to train and then exercise again." Dr John Brewer, head of sports science at Lilleshall Human Performance Centre: Health and Fitness 1999.

"Oxygen can clear your head, help eliminate toxins and give you a mind high." Andy Davison, exercise physiologist.

"If you use oxygen for 20 minutes, muscles become loosened; headaches and stress seem to disappear. There is a renewed energy and a feeling of relaxation. I am confident oxygen works." Dr Richard de Andrea: Sunday Herald.

"Increases alertness, improves body's ability to burn fat and enhances physical performance." Howard Robbins DPM for The Journal.

What is the relationship between oxygen and cancer?


"Cancer has only one prime cause. It is the replacement of normal oxygen respiration of the body's cells by an oxygen deficient cell respiration." Dr Otto Warburg, two-time Nobel laureate winner of the Nobel Prize for cancer research.

"An insufficient supply of oxygen to the tissues is linked with such serious conditions as heart disease, anaemia, acute poisonings, etc. Many scientists believe that a periodic lack of oxygen must be held responsible for the formation of cancer cells, thus being one of the causes of cancer." Dr Paavo Airola

Are low oxygen levels and toxins the cause of degenerate disease?

Studies from various fields suggest that most problems in the body occur when there is not enough oxygen at cellular level.

Within all serious diseases, low oxygen levels are always apparent. Hypoxia, or lack of oxygen in the tissues, is the fundamental cause for all degenerative disease." Dr Stephen Levine, renowned molecular biologist author: Oxygen Deficiency, a concomitant to all degenerative illness.

What is the difference between medical and commercial oxygen?


Medical oxygen supplies have to guarantee the oxygen purity does not drop from source to patient and come with alarm sequences to indicate flow, breath exertion and power failure.

Commercial oxygen concentrators seldom have alarms and can continue to roved oxygen without shutting down flow blockage. They also have scope to drop 10% in purity levels as these do not need to be so strict. The oxygen purity can range from 30% to 90% and no prescription is required to buy these units.

Why do I need a doctor's note to use medical oxygen?


Normal medical oxygen supplies are regulated by the respiratory clinic under the supervision of a consultant. They will take a blood sample and devise a suitable amount of oxygen to be supplied to the patient.

What are the different methods of using oxygen?


  • Oxygen concentrators are the most cost-effective way of supplying oxygen and can supply large amounts of oxygen without high levels of maintenance. A main advantage of an oxygen concentrator is that they do not hold pressurised oxygen and therefore pose less health and safety issues. Low cost concentrators can be noisy and less reliable so it's important to invest in a quality concentrator with decibel levels lower than 50.
  • Compressed cylinder oxygen is the most common way of delivering oxygen and this method is often used by hospitals. Cylinders guarantee a consistent supply of flow rate and are very commonly used with prescriptions. However, they can only hold a certain amount of oxygen and can run out unexpectedly.


What is the difference between continuous and pulse flow oxygen?


Continuous oxygen is an uninterrupted supply of oxygen that can be supplied by nose cannula, face mask or in conjunction with most other breathing devices. Continuous oxygen devices are often operated by AC mains supplies ad provide reliable oxygen 24 hours a day. In most cases patients are best using this method of oxygen delivery when sleeping or resting.

Pulse flow oxygen is delivered on activation of breathing and is commonly known as 'pulse on demand'. Oxygen is delivered via a nose cannula only and supply short doses of oxygen on inhalation. Modern portable concentrators can detect when a patient is going to breathe and releases the required amount of oxygen. These devices are often very lightweight and can supply oxygen over a long period of time, making them ideal for day to day activities and travelling.

How do oxygen concentrators work?


Air is sucked into the device through several air filters and compressed to 4x the normal atmosphere pressure. It is then passed through several columns made of zeolite and this traps the nitrogen and allows the oxygen to pass through. Normally, nitrogen is 77% present in air and oxygen is 21%. Before the first column is saturated by nitrogen, a flow of air is introduced to the next column and it is discharged back into the atmosphere.

How can I use portable oxygen when travelling by car?

Using portable oxygen concentrators whilst travelling in a vehicle is fairly easy - they can run directly from the DC car supply or run off their own batteries. Unlike cylinders, the portable oxygen concentrator can supply unlimited oxygen for your journey whilst connected to the DC port in a car. Please note, if you choose to have a back-up cylinder on board, this must be stored securely as they are pressurised and can cause safety issues.

When using smaller machines like the Airsep units, you should start your engine first then connect the machine to your DC port in the car. It's best to rest the Airsep on the passenger seat either upright or lay down on its back. Do not block the front of the machine as this is the place where it needs to breathe in air flow to make oxygen.

When using the Sequal units, firstly take the battery from the unit then check the DC adaptor is set to the correct setting of 10A or 15A. You should usually leave the DC red switch on 10A unless you require 2.5 or 3LPM continuous flow rate. If this is the case, turn the red switch on your adaptor to 15A and check you have a 20AMP fuse in your car to allow this power setting (your local garage can do this for you).

What should I know when stopping somewhere overnight?

If you have a pulse activated machine such as an Airsep Freestyle you should check with your doctor or respiratory clinic if it is safe to use overnight. If it isn't safe, you may find the Sequal products useful as they can supply continuous flow, which is better for overnight use.  

Pulse oxygen is not often recommended for overnight use as some patients may fail to activate the oxygen trigger on the device and therefore have periods of no oxygen delivery. Some patients can sleep with their mouths open and waste a lot of oxygen that is delivered by pulse on each intake on breath. If you are concerned about this, please call us and speak to one of our medical product specialists.

Other considerations are to have a back-up supply of oxygen and keep your batteries well-charged before connecting your unit to the mains. This way, if there is a power cut, your portable concentrator can continue to work from its own batteries.

How do I prepare myself before going on holiday?


  • If you require 16+ hours of oxygen a day, see if you can get a second supply of oxygen delivered to your destination. Or take two portable oxygen concentrators.
  • Be aware of your local oxygen suppliers and hospitals should any situations arise.
  • Have your portable oxygen equipment serviced or maintenance checked at least two months prior to a major holiday.
  • If you plan to use a portable oxygen concentrator abroad, a surge protection plug or adaptor may prove useful. Most other countries don't have the reliable electrical mains supply like the UK!
  • Speak to your respiratory clinic for any advice and tips on travelling.
  • Check with the British Lung Foundation for help they can offer.
  • Always carry a doctor's note stating you are on oxygen and what levels you should be allowed during an emergency.
     


What if I am planning to fly?

  • Have your respiratory clinic perform a fit for flight test. This will not only show if it is safe for you to fly but will show exactly what level of oxygen is necessary to maintain your oxygen saturation levels. Following this test, your consultant will give you a note stating you are fit to fly, this document will be needed for the airline's boarding purposes.
  • Before booking your flight, check the airline you are planning to use is accommodating your needs. Most airlines approve the use of portable oxygen concentrators, especially the Sequal and Airsep range as they are approved by the NHS. The following airlines have been proven to be most helpful: British Airways, Virgin, Flybe and Easyjet. Most international airlines are very helpful.
  • Plan your battery time! All airlines ask that you have more than enough battery power to use your POC during, before and after flight.
  • Although most airlines carry oxygen, it may be use to check that your airline does carry back-up oxygen as some do not.