IPF will prevent you from getting enough oxygen through your lung by breathing normal air. By adding Oxygen you get enough oxygen, which will help you function better and stay more active. There are several options available in the market:
Compressed Oxygen Cylinders & Large Tanks
When you need oxygen, portable oxygen tanks can make your life a lot easier. You don't have to be staying at home in order to get your oxygen. Portable tanks with compressed oxygen make it easier on everyone but you should keep the weight and the design in mind. Here's what you should consider:
Aluminum Cylinder Specifications*
A or M-4
B or M-6
C or M-9
D or M-15
E or M-24
*Specifications vary slightly among manufacturers
Larger tanks carry more volume and mean that you don’t have to switch to new tanks that often. Please consult with your doctor and your medical supply company on the use of cylinders / tanks.
Liquid Oxygen - Base reservoir tank + Rechargeable portable units
The combination of a large home tank filled with cooled liquid oxygen and small, lightweight and long lasting portable units (part of the same system) is another option to consider. At extremely cold temperatures, oxygen changes from gas to a liquid. The liquid oxygen is stored in a base reservoir that functions like to a thermos. When oxygen is liquid, more than 800 times as much oxygen can be stored in the same amount of space, at much lower pressure, than in compressed oxygen pressure tanks. Some portable units (smaller thermoses) can lasts up to 20 hours between refills on low settings (see specs manufacturer) . You’ll regain the freedom to visit friends and family, go shopping / dining at your favorite restaurant, or even have an active lifestyle. You can have it back without needing to refill your portable, bring along extra oxygen cylinders or having to worry about power or batteries. The portables can be refilled in seconds from a system home reservoir, and depending on your usage it can last for weeks. You can Google these systems by putting in liquid oxygen systems or Helios. (Helios = high-efficiency liquid-oxygen system) Please consult with your doctor and your medical supply company.
Portable Oxygen Concentrators
A portable oxygen concentrator can give you back more of your freedom. A portable oxygen concentrator is used for short-term usage outside of the home but doesn’t come with many of the limitations of portable oxygen tanks. Portable oxygen concentrators are smaller and lighter than a stationary oxygen concentrator and most come with three ways of power supply. Direct 110 Volt power, a car charger and batteries. The output of portable oxygen concentrators in number of liters per minute is lower than home oxygen concentrators.
There are many different brands and models – please research and please consult with your doctor and your medical supply company.
Portable oxygen concentrators make it possible to fly again. If you are going to fly consult with the airlines (Google portable oxygen concentrator and your airline) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) before you purchase or rent one.
Home Oxygen Concentrators
A home oxygen concentrator is a more the stationary solution for oxygen and intended for use inside the home. It is not designed to be fully mobile but most of the time can be moved from one room to another. A home oxygen concentrator provides you with a quiet, advanced, and reliable source of oxygen in the comfort of your own home. It’s large and bulky and fully powered from a wall outlet and there are no batteries. If you live in an area where you have frequent power outages you need a backup solution. A home oxygen concentrator greatly reduces the fear and the dangers associated with oxygen tanks. You can find more info by entering - Home Oxygen Concentrators Brands – in your search engine. (Google, Bing, Yahoo…) Please consult with your doctor and your medical supply company.
With a Home Filling Station you can fill a variety of travel cylinders or back-up tanks and you’re no longer (or only partly) dependent on delivery. You can fill cylinders while you sleep or before your planned trip.
Always consult your physician and your medical supply company if you have any questions whatsoever. Even if you don’t feel comfortable asking the most simple questions, you must know the answers. There are guidelines for every system, general safety rules and specific ones for each choice, travel limitations, efficiency differences and the list goes on. But always, be careful to follow your doctor's orders exactly when using oxygen, and never change the liter flow without his or her approval.
Medicare, Medicaid, and Commercial Insurance for Oxygen
Certain insurance policies may pay for all your oxygen, but payment is based on laboratory results, diagnosis, and other information. Your physician or medical equipment and services provider may be able to answer your questions about coverage.
Please visit http://www.portableoxygen.org for more information like specs on different systems, weights, durations etc.
For high altitudes (flying, mountains etc.) you can consider taking a HAST test. It stands for High Altitude Simulation Test.
Handy tips for flying: TSA - Transportation Security Administration website => See under => Travelers with Disabilities and Medical Conditions
Travel with Oxygen in Europe