Hello, I just received my first portable oxygen concentrator the other day, and I'm very satisfied with the service. I'm glad that it also came with a free nasal cannula and tubing, which saved me some hassle even though it doesn't seem like a big deal. I was wondering how often I should change the nasal cannula, or how I know when to change it. Thanks in advance! - Bobbi J.
Thanks for this question and we're very glad that you are satisfied with your new concentrator and our service. The question of changing your cannula is important, and the answer depends on a few different factors.
The reason you need to change it at all, and not just clean it every so often, is because it is made of plastic which can deteriorate over time. You might not be able to see the deterioration, because it occurs as tiny cracks and pores in the plastic. In these tiny cracks and pores, bacteria and mold can start to breed, and dirt, dust and other tiny things such as pollen spores can get stuck. Bacteria and mold thrive in moist places, and nasal cannulas and tubing are prime environments, especially if you are using a humidifier.
How often do you use your concentrator? If you are only using your cannula and tubing a few hours a day, it is recommended that you change your tubing and cannula, every 3-6 months. If you use your concentrator more than a few hours a day, it is recommended to change your cannula on a monthly basis and your tubing, at least, every 2-6 months.
Have you recently been sick? If you've been sick recently or just gotten over a cold, you need to replace your cannula and tubing right away. A bacterial infection can come back once you've gotten over it if the bacteria are still present in the tubing. A virus can mutate if it's still living in the tubing, and come back to you worse than ever. While you are sick and for a few weeks after, it is recommended to change your cannula at least 1x per week just for good measure.
How often should you wash the tubing? You can clean it about once a week using vinegar and water solution, as well as a mild detergent such as Dawn dish soap. It's recommended that you wash the nasal cannula with 1 part water and 1 part vinegar to safely kill the germs, and then wash it in hot water with a small amount of Dawn. Rinse it thoroughly and hang it to dry. Make sure it is completely dry before using it again.
You should have two cannulas on hand at all times, especially if you use your oxygen therapy all day just in case need to wash one, or if you lose one. Our nasal cannula and tubes are inexpensive, so you won't have any trouble purchasing them when you need them.