Skiing and Hitting the Slopes with a Portable Oxygen Concentrator

You shouldn't have to pass on going skiing with your friends if you need to use oxygen therapy. In fact, portable oxygen for skiers happens to be a great idea, even for those who don't have a chronic lung disease. Being at high altitudes can make it harder to breathe, and can cause what is known as "acute mountain sickness".

If you have a chronic lung condition, you should consult your doctor before taking part in this physical activity, whether or not you use oxygen therapy. If your doctor gives you the okay, he or she might advise that you use a portable oxygen concentrator while doing so, even if you don't usually need one.

Using portable oxygen during exercise is a good idea, and often required for people with a chronic lung disease such as COPD. The air at higher altitudes is thinner as well, so breathing in extra oxygen while you're hitting the slopes will help prevent you from getting sick. It can help prevent having a flare up, or coming down with acute mountain sickness.

Acute Mountain Sickness or AMS happens to some people at high altitudes. It can be severe or mild, and it can happen to people who are otherwise in good health. The symptoms can range from a headache, dizziness and slight nausea, to severe vomiting, pain and vertigo.

AMS can continue after the individual has returned to a lower elevation. You can reduce the risk of AMS by going to a higher altitude slowly (staying at one elevation the night before traveling to a higher location) and by using a portable oxygen concentrator on your way up.

If you need to use oxygen therapy on your ski trip, you can bring your portable oxygen concentrator with you. Just be sure that it doesn't come in direct contact with snow, and it's light enough to carry comfortably without getting in your way. A small POC with a custom backpack would be ideal.

Another thing you'll need to do is keep some extra, fully charged batteries with you at all times, so you can replace a depleted battery when you need to. The great thing about many carry bags is that you don't have to remove them from the bag to replace the battery. Just open the convenient zipper, remove the old battery and pop in the new one.

For good measure, never go skiing alone. Take a friend with you who can call for help just in case something happens to you, or vice versa. Take along a pulse oximeter as well, so you can check to make sure your blood oxygen level isn't dropping. These are good to have wherever you go.

Be sure to follow the right safety measures and listen to your doctor. You can have fun on a skiing trip while using a portable oxygen concentrator.

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