Posted - Jan 14 2011 : 09:10:56 AM
| Volume 11, Issue 2
January 14, 2011
WATER TRAPS FOR OXYGEN TUBING
Terry from Illinois started a very active discussion about water traps on COPD-Support's email list when she reported that she discovered moisture was settling in her oxygen tubing instead of in her water trap. She recently inserted a water trap in her oxygen tubing, having already hooked up her concentrator's humidifier. She was hoping for some relief from nasal dryness. Instead of relief, she was greeted in the morning with post-nasal drip. Terry sparked an active discussion not only about water traps, but also about the related problems of leaks and problematic hose connections. A good number of suggestions were made, but first:
What are Water Traps?
Water traps are inserted into oxygen tubing to trap moisture that condenses in the tubing. The traps themselves vary in size, however most are cylindrical and between 2 and 8 inches long. They are inserted into the tubing between the humidifier and the cannula, preferably towards the cannula end of the hose. They collect the water that develops in the tubing due to condensation. This allows the user to collect and empty the accumulated water. Water traps should be provided by home oxygen providers, especially if you use a humidifier with your concentrator. You may need to ask your oxygen provider for them. They are also available over the Internet without a prescription.
What's the Cause of Moisture in Oxygen Tubing?
Condensation happens when water vapor in the air turns into a liquid. It is the opposite of evaporation. The accumulated moisture can become a breeding ground for bacteria and/or make its way into your cannula and nostrils. Like the beads of moisture that form on the outside of your cold bottle of beer on a hot summer day (because of the difference in temperature between the bottle and the surrounding air), much the same can happen with your tubing…except the moisture is on the inside, and you ddon't get any beer. The oxygen coming out of your concentrator is warm, but the exact temperature depends on the particular model of your concentrator—some simply run warmer than others. This might explain why Terry didn't have a problem with condensation until she changed concentrators. The temperature of the air coming out of your concentrator is also affected by the temperature of the air that goes into your concentrator, and the location of your concentrator might influence the temperature of the air taken in. The air coming out of the concentrator picks up additional moisture by passing through the concentrator's humidifier. As this warm, humid, oxygenated air travels down the tubing, the moisture will condense and collect on the inside of the tubing when it hits the cooler areas of tubing, usually on the floor. This is called "rain-out." You can see why this is a bigger problem during the winter months, because warm air rises and floors tends to be cooler than the ambient air. Also, some floors, such as tile and wood floors are going to be colder than carpeting. Multistory buildings often pose fewer problems because of their unique heat distribution.
Reducing the Difference in Air Temperatures
The closer in temperature you can make the air coming out of the humidifier to the air temperature on your floor, the less condensation will develop. Having your concentrator in a well-ventilated area, perhaps even in a cooler area of your home, might make a difference. If your concentrator is bottom vented, avoid placing it on plush carpet, or consider putting a hard surface between the concentrator and the carpet. A small, upside down rug with a hard back might do the trick. To equalize the air temperatures, some people recommend filling the humidifier with refrigerated, distilled water, or even adding a couple of distilled ice cubes to bring the humidified concentrator air closer to the temperature of the air on the your floor. Yet others try to avoid the difference in air temperatures by keeping their oxygen hose off the floor with the use of hooks.
How Can I Get Moisture Out of My Tubing?
It takes a long time to dry out a long stretch of tubing. Unless there is air flowing through the tube, the air inside will become stagnant and the tubing will not dry. The easiest and best solution is to replace the tubing. If you decide instead to dry out the tubing, continue to run air through it until I is dry; just be sure that it isn't humidified air.
Among the great suggestions provided to Terry by members (too numerous to mention) are:
- try to put cotton balls in the water trap (just be sure it doesn't decrease airflow)
- check to be sure the water trap does not obstruct airflow (which seems to be a common complaint)
- be sure you are getting a good flow by holding up your cannula to your ear, or near but not touching your moistened tongue or lips
- consider using an airflow valve before the cannula to compensate for any decrease in airflow
- be aware that the humidifier bottle is a common "weak link" in the system. If you are having an airflow problem, check to be sure the humidifier cap is on securely
- a kinked hose, small leak, or a weak connection anywhere in the system can also decrease airflow
- use a liter meter to test the flow coming out of your cannula end of the tubing
And finally, a big thanks to Ann from Nebraska, for her email that led to this article, in which she declares:
â€śTHANKS! Three years on oxygen and I knew ZIP about water traps!"
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE
- FDA WARNS OF EXTORTION SCAM AGAINST THOSE WHO IMPORT MEDS
- EVEN A LITTLE SMOKE CAN AFFECT GENES
- INFLAMMATION IN COPD LINKED TO DEPRESSION AND FATIGUE
- ENZYME INHIBITOR MAY CONTROL LUNG INFLAMMATION
- ECHINACEA DOESN'T HELP COLDS
- MEDICARE'S NEW SITE HELPS YOU COMPARE DOCTORS
- MEDICARE KILLS END OF LIFE PLANNING…WELL, MAYBE
- TWO MILLION FORGO DISCOUNTED DRUG COVERAGE
- DISENROLLMENT PERIOD OFFERS CHANCE TO CHANGE HEALTH COVERAGE
WELL, I CAN'T BELIEVE MY EYES!
HARBIN ICE AND SNOW FESTIVAL PICTURES
COMPETE IN THE 2010 WINTER GAMES!
A GAME A DAY
SOURCES: News items summarized in The COPD-NEWS are taken from secondary sources believed to be reliable. However, the COPD Family of Services does not verify their accuracy.
FDA WARNS OF EXTORTION SCAM AGAINST THOSE WHO IMPORT MEDS
Let's say you ordered some medications over the Internet from India, or perhaps the island nation of Vanuatu. Later, when your telephone rings and the person at the other end of the line identifies him or herself as an agent from the Food and Drug Administration, your heart will probably start racing. As you wonder if you are having the symptoms of cardiac arrest, the agent explains he is calling in regard to your illegal importation of drugs into the U.S. Immediately, that little demon on your shoulder starts screaming "I told you so!â€ť as you are informed by the intimidating official that you broke the law, that you engaged in an illegal activity! Overwhelmed with guilt, fear and remorse, you are informed that you can avoid prosecution if you pay a fine, but that you have to act immediately to avoid prosecution. Relieved that there is a way out of your mess, there is a good chance that you can be talked into grabbing your credit card …exactly the response the scam artists want! The FDDA is therefore warning the public of criminals posing at FDA agents (or other law enforcement officials) to extort money out of individuals who have purchased drugs over the Internet or "telepharmacies." You can find out more about this scam at the FDA's website found at:
EVEN A LITTLE SMOKE CAN AFFECT GENES
Researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City find that even small amounts of smoke can affect genes in the cells of airways. Although the changes in genes are more dramatic in heavy smokers than they are in light smokers, even those who breathed in "the lowest detectible level" of smoke were affected, according to the researchers. This finding adds credibility to those who demand the most extreme bands on smoking. For the Cornell study, see:
INFLAMMATION IN COPD LINKED TO DEPRESSION AND FATIGUE
There is growing evidence that COPD is an inflammatory disease, and in fact, many researchers have come to the unequivocal conclusion that it is. It was a controversial theory only a couple decades ago. There is also a growing belief that as an inflammatory disease, COPD exists in the presence of, or along with, one or more other diseases (called comorbidity). This led a group of researchers in the UK to look at biological markers of inflammation to see if they are related to two of the most common complaints of individuals with COPD: depression and fatigue. You guessed it; they found that both are related to the biological measures of inflammation; the higher the inflammatory markers, the greater are both the measures of depression and fatigue. We can now possibly add "inflammatory process" to our long list of reasons why depression is so common for many of us with COPD. Here's an abstract of their study (complex), however if you can handle it, the full study can be accessed on the right side of the same page:
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ENZYME INHIBITOR MAY CONTROL LUNG INFLAMMATION
Medical News Today reports on a study published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology that identifies a therapeutic agent that can help control lung inflammation and acute respiratory distress syndrome. In short, blocking of a particular enzyme (called delta-protein kinase C) from activating protects the lung from damage. The studies were conducted with rats. The Medical News Today article can be found at:
ECHINACEA DOESN'T HELP COLDS
The popular herbal supplement Echinacea, a Native American medicinal plant, doesn't help decrease the severity or duration of the common cold, according to researchers at the University of Wisconsin. Touted to relieve colds, sore throats, boost immunity, reduce pain, treat various types of infections, heal wounds, etc., this latest study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, concludes it is ineffective when used to treat the common cold. Prior to this study, the use of Echinacea was controversial. In an article written prior to the above research, the University of Maryland points out that there were 14 clinical trials that demonstrated its effectiveness; however those studies were disputed because of the inherent weaknesses of the designs of the studies. The latest article from the National Institute of Health's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, can be viewed at:
http://tinyurl.com/4cgsapyThe University of Marylandâ€™s earler review of Echinacea, that predates the above study, can be viewed at:
MEDICARE'S NEW SITE HELPS YOU COMPARE DOCTORS
Medicare has developed a new website that allows you to find and compare physicians and other healthcare providers. You can search by specialty and location. You can narrow your search to show only those who accept Medicare assignment. (Medicare assignment indicates that the practitioner accepts the Medicare-approved amount as payment in full, although you are still responsible for co-pays.) Once you find a potential doctor or other medical professional, click on their name and it will take you to a page listing their office locations, etc. However, you then have to look over to the easily missed right of the page to find the important "additional information."
MEDICAL DECISIONS. Your physician should be consulted on all medical decisions. New procedures or drugs should not be started or stopped without such consultation. While we believe that our accumulated experience has value, and a unique perspective, you must accept it for what it is...the work of COPD patients. We vigorously encourage individuals with COPD to take an active part in the management of their disease. They do this through education and by sharing information and thoughts with their primary physician and pulmonologist. However, medical decisions are based on complex medical principles and should be left to the medical practitioner who has been trained to diagnose and advise.
MEDICARE KILLS END OF LIFE PLANNING…WELL, MAYBE
The controversial "end of life planning," as part of the services provided in Medicare's new annual physical exam coverage will be revised to delete the reference to this service. The history of the reference to this service is convoluted: the bill signed into law didn't mention it, so it is removing something that was mistakenly omitted…you get the pictture. To add to the confusion, according to an article in the New York Times, an official says that the removal of this provision should not affect patients' ability to discuss end of life planning. Confused? You are not alone. See:
TWO MILLION FORGO DISCOUNTED DRUG COVERAGE
Kaiser Health News (not the insurance company) points out that more than 2 million Medicare recipients failed to sign up for "Extra Help," a program to assist low-income Medicare beneficiaries pay for their Medicare Part D prescription drug program premiums, deductibles and co-pays, and coverage while in the doughnut hole. Seniors and individuals with disabilities are eligible for this assistance if their income is below $16,245 for individuals or $21,855 for couples. For more information, see the Kaiser Health report at:
http://tinyurl.com/2f8koaxFor the Extra Help website, see:
DISENROLLMENT PERIOD OFFERS CHANCE TO CHANGE HEALTH COVERAGE
Did you know that if you have a Medicare Advantage Plan (a private Medicare plan) and are unhappy with your choice, you have until February 14, 2011 to switch back to regular Medicare? In past years, you could "disenroll" through the end of March, but this year your window closes six weeks earlier. You can't switch to other plans, and can only switch if you have an Advantage Plan, and you are only allowed to switch back to Original Medicare. In most cases you are also entitled to choose a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. This Medical News Today article provides more information:
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WELL, I CAN'T BELIEVE MY EYES!
We're never too old to enjoy the fun of tricking our brains with optical illusions. Notwithstanding the many tricks our brains already play on us, at least these are intentional:
HARBIN INTERNATIONAL ICE AND SNOW FESTIVAL PICTURES
Although too big to put in your drink, here are 27 of the biggest, most colorful ice sculptures you'd ever want to see! Published in The Telegraph at:
COMPETE IN THE 2010 WINTER GAMES!
No, it's not too late to compete in last winterâ€™s Olympic Games. You can play the "mini-games" and use your cursor arrows to negotiate the jumps, slaloms, and skate your way to international fame! Just think; you too might get a contract to sell lip balm!
A GAME A DAY
Okay you game addicts, here's a great site with tons of them, offered on two levels. Go ahead; you're ready for level II!
For comments and questions, or to contact Richard D. Martin, please send your email to: newsletter@COPD-Support.com
Until next Friday,
Richard D. Martin, Editor
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