Caring for Your Nasal Cannula
Keeping your nasal cannula clean and free of bacteria and other germs is very important. Because the nasal cannula sits in your nostrils, germs can easily get into your system, thus keeping your cannula clean is important and good sense!
People that require oxygen therapy are usually at higher risk for developing a respiratory virus or other aliments. Even though winter is coming to an end, it’s still just as important to care for your nasal cannula through the coming seasons.
What is the Nasal Cannula?
The nasal cannula is the soft, flexible rubber piece with two short prongs that fit into your nostrils. The long piece that is attached to the cannula is called the rubber tubing. Two simple pieces, very important pieces.
Replacing Your Nasal Cannula
How often you use your nasal cannula dictates how often you should replace it. If you clean your cannula and tubing regularly and properly and are using it every day, you can count on replacing your cannula once monthly. If you’re only using it for 12 or so hours per day, such as while you’re sleeping, and taking proper care of it, it will need to be replaced every other month.
Replacing a nasal cannula and rubber tubing is inexpensive, but we suggest taking good care of these two pieces to last as long as possible before having to switch them out for new ones. It is good practice to keep a spare cannula and tubing on hand. Order a spare now to avoid waiting for your package to come in the mail when you need it. Once you know how often you’ll be using your oxygen concentrator and cannula, you can stock up on your year supply now to avoid any issues down the road (like running out).
Don’t forget to replace the rubber tubing, too; especially if you’ve been sick. It’s not worth it skip replacing it and risk harboring residual bacteria from your last sickness. In this case, with health, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
How to Clean Your Nasal Cannula
It is very important for those with chronic lung conditions, as getting sick can be extremely dangerous, too keep your nasal cannula clean. It is suggested that you sanitize and wipe down your nasal cannula (especially the prongs!) and rubber tubing with an alcohol swab (or make your own with a cotton round doused in rubbing alcohol) once daily. Rubbing alcohol is the perfect cleanser because it sufficiently kills any bacteria lurking on the cannula surfaces.
You can soak the tubbing and prongs in warm, soapy water. Adding a little white vinegar can help cleanse your cannula and won’t eat away at the rubber like some types of chemicals will. Make sure to rinse the tubbing and cannula thoroughly and let it completely dry before using again.
If you use your oxygen concentrator 24/7, it might work best for you to have two cannulas at any given moment. One to wear and use while you clean and dry the second cannula.