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How to Prevent Dry Nose, Throat and Mouth Due to Oxygen Therapy

Apr 9, 2013 by
How to Prevent Dry Nose, Throat and Mouth Due to Oxygen Therapy

If you are using oxygen therapy more than a few hours a day, one of the problems you might encounter in the beginning is an uncomfortable, dry feeling in your throat or your nose. Many people deal with this when they first start using oxygen therapy, but they get used to it, or they learn how to fix the issue. These are also common issues for people who use a CPAP or BiPAP machine for sleep apnea.

You don’t need to deal with irritated skin or nose bleeds if you do a few simple things to prevent them. Keeping the your oxygen concentrator clean will also help remedy the problem, as well as doing proper cleaning and maintenance on the accessories that you use with it.

The flow of air that you’ve been prescribed for your oxygen machine might feel like too much at first, but this is also something that can be helped, as well as something you will get used to. It’s important that you not change the oxygen flow, or use your oxygen concentrator any less than what your doctor has prescribed, because you will not be getting the oxygen that you need.

Prevent Nose Bleeds

Nose bleeds can happen frequently for people using oxygen therapy, if the inside of your nostrils dry out from a constant flow of air. The delicate skin inside your nose becomes irritated, and one little bump with the edge of the nasal cannula is enough to cause a tiny break in the skin and hit a blood vessel. This can also happen if you are using a high flow of oxygen through a face mask instead of a cannula. You might also blow your nose after using your oxygen concentrator and see some blood in the mucous.

To prevent bloody noses and dry nasal skin in general, you can use a moisturizing balm. There are moisturizing balms on the market that are specifically for dry nasal passages due to oxygen therapy, but you can also use sesame seed oil with the same effect. Sesame seed oil is a natural anti-inflammatory and it also protects you from any germs that might be in your nose. Apply the moisturizing balm or sesame seed oil to the inside of your nostrils with the tip of a cotton swab, or with a clean finger. A thin coating is enough, and you don’t want to apply too much or it will be uncomfortable.

Add Humidity

If you are experiencing a dry mouth and throat even with the humidifier that is built into your oxygen concentrator, you can use a room humidifier to add even more moisture to the air you’re breathing in. You might find that you need this the most while you are sleeping, when we tend to breathe through our mouths more. Make sure the water that you are using in your humidifiers is distilled.

Keep it Clean

Wash out your humidifier once a week, as well as the rubber tubing and nasal cannula, with a mild detergent and water. You will need to replace the rubber tubing and nasal cannula every six months.

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Scott has been with AMSR since 2008 and is passionate about topics relating oxygen and oxygen therapy. He enjoys sharing his knowledge about oxygen to help educate patients on the options they have. His oxygen tips have been featured on Caring.com and numerous oxygen and medical related Web sites.