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

If you are using oxygen therapy for more than a few hours a day, one of the problems you might encounter is an uncomfortable, dry feeling in your throat, nose, or mouth. Many people deal with these issues when they first start using oxygen therapy, and they either get used to them, or they find a solution.

You don't need to deal with irritated skin or nose bleeds if you do a few simple things to prevent them. Simply keeping your oxygen concentrator, along with any accessories, properly clean can help remedy this problem.

When you first start using oxygen, the airflow may feel unusual. The feeling of using oxygen therapy is something that you will grow accustomed to over time. It's important that you follow the flow rate prescribed by your doctor, do not lessen or increase your prescribed flow rate without consulting your physician. Remember, the most important part of oxygen therapy is getting your body the oxygen it needs!

Prevent Nose Bleeds

Nosebleeds can frequently happen for people using oxygen therapy. Nosebleeds often occur because the inside of your nostrils can dry out from the 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. Bloody noses also happen if you are using a high flow of oxygen through a face mask instead of a cannula. Another normal occurrence is seeing blood in your mucus after you blow your nose while using your oxygen concentrator.

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 made for dry nasal passages due to oxygen therapy, but you can also use sesame seed oil for the same effect. Sesame seed oil is a natural anti-inflammatory and can also protect you from germs that might be hiding 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, you don't want to apply too much, or it may be uncomfortable.

Add Humidity

Dry nose and throat can often be treated and prevented by using a humidifier bottle with your oxygen concentrator. These particular bottles attach to your concentrator and force the oxygen through water. This process helps to add moisture into the oxygen provided to you so that it will not dry you out nearly as much.

If you are experiencing a dry mouth and throat while using a humidifier bottle, 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.

Prevent Dry Nose Due to Oxygen Therapy with a Humidifier Bottle

Keep it Clean

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

Prevent Dry Nose Due to Oxygen Therapy By Keeping Humidifier and Nasal Cannulas Clean

As always, make sure to speak to your physician if you have any questions or concerns regarding your condition and your treatment. Following these simple steps can help reduce dryness that can come when using oxygen therapy.

Related Information

Information on this page is for reference and educational purposes only. For more information, talk to your doctor or primary care provider.

Updated: February 21, 2020
Published: April 9, 2013

About Scott Ridl: Scott joined American Medical Sales and Rentals in 2008 as a Web Manager and Content Writer. He is a writer and designer. He is extensively trained on oxygen therapy products from leading manufacturers such as Inogen, Respironics, Chart, Invacare, ResMed and more. Scott works closely with respiratory therapists and oxygen specialists to educate the community about oxygen therapy products, COPD, asthma and lung diseases. He writes weekly columns and is passionate about educating the community on oxygen therapy and respiratory issues.

30 thoughts on “How to Prevent Dry Nose, Throat and Mouth Due to Oxygen Therapy”

  • Marge

    What about a dry throat? My brother had throat surgery a few years ago and they have put him on 24 hour Oxygen. It drys his throat out.

  • Eileen Tsiapanos

    I've been on O2 therapy at night while I sleep for about 10 months now. I have had nosebleeds and now I've noticed that I have a small (feels bigger than it is, I'm sure, since it's inside my nose). It gets dry and if I blow my nose, it will bleed. Idk what a humidifier for it would look like and my Pulmonologist wanted me to call he equipment company n tell them that he wants it added, but they won't call me back. What do I do?

    • Danielle Jason

      Thank you for your comment, Eileen. Please contact one of our Oxygen Specialists at 877-774-9271; they are available Monday-Thursday 6:30 AM to 9:00 PM, Friday 6:30 AM - 7:00 PM, Saturday 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM, and Sunday 8:00 AM - 7:00 PM Mountain Standard Time.

  • Bob

    Can you provide the citation / source of the information you provided?

    • Danielle Jason

      Thank you for your comment Bob. Our blogs are written by a number of our staff here at AMSR. We use our collective knowledge and lean heavily on our experienced Oxygen Specialist veterans for information, questions, and tips to feature in our blog posts.

  • Charlene shepard
    Charlene shepard January 10, 2018 at 7:07 pm

    I am on oxygen everyday all day long lately I have been having nose bleeds I am going to try the sesame seed oil I hope it works

  • ccanady

    I didn't get a nose bleed until the provider was changed, I want my old one back. The humidifier on the
    unit does not work for me. My doctor suggested Vaseline and it helps some. The nasal cannula that goes in the nose is to long, so I cut it to make shorter and that has helped.

  • Sharice Ford

    I am trying to find something to help with my nose bleed

  • Mark

    How about grape seed oil for dry nostrils

    • Danielle Jason

      Thank you for your inquiry, Mark. We suggest consulting your doctor as we are unsure if grape seed oil would have the same effects as sesame seed oil. Have you tried the sesame oil alternative?

  • Doug

    Can I use Afrin nasal spray if I’m on oxygen at night?

    • Margaret Goodman
      Margaret Goodman March 16, 2018 at 9:22 am

      Thank you for your inquiry, Doug. As far as your oxygen concentrator is concerned there is no issue with using a nasal spray. We do however recommend that you consult with your doctor first before using any medications that you have not already discussed with your doctor.

    • Cheryle Kiser

      Frozen vasiline is great for nose bleeds

  • Carla Fisher

    I've read that vaseline and petroleum based things should not be used on your face with oxygen - safety. I am going to try sesame oil - smelling like Chinese food is ok! I also get some relief with a cotton swab wet with water - but it's temporary.

  • Mrs. Ritter

    I hope this will help someone. My cannula prongs were too long and especially while I slept the prongs would go so deep in my nose it was clogging the prong up from pressing into the back wall of my nasal cavity. It was also clogging my nose up because the prongs were plugging up the back of my nose. I would wake up feeling like I was suffocating. What I done is to ask my provider to let me try pediatric size cannula. While its not a 100% fix the difference in the oxygen I'm getting through my nose has improved significantly. Hugs to all.

  • cheryl

    I am on oxygen therapy 24 hrs a day. The mucus my nasal passages dry and blocks the nasal passage making it even more difficult to breath.
    This a chronic problem. I would love some advise.

    • Margaret Goodman
      Margaret Goodman July 12, 2018 at 10:50 am

      You might want to try a daily nasal rinse in the morning and see if that helps. You should also talk with your doctor if this is something that is preventing your oxygen levels from staying where they need to be.

    • carolyn youngblood
      carolyn youngblood May 4, 2019 at 5:37 am

      Hi Cheryl...I have the same problem. I have end-stage emphysema, no.4 setting. I use a nasal spray 3 or 4 times a day. .I also use my nettie pot 1 or 2 times a day. The rinse helps the most to loosen the wet/dry scabs, or globs of mucous so you can blow it out. Sorry bout your problems, not much fun.

    • Angela F Tate

      Hello, I'm on oxygen 24 hours and my nose stay stuffed up and it bothers me so bad to where I feel like I can't breath. My anxiety is so horrible and when I get stuffed up it gets really crazy. ☹️

  • Cat

    I have a couple questions -

    1. The homecare company I’m with said there’s no such thing as a “humidifier” for the oxygen concentrated I have. Besides using diffusers with water and essential oils is there any way to make more moisture in the air?

    2. At night I always pull my cannula off while asleep. I’ve tried a small bit of paper tape and other adhesives I’m not allergic to but I still manage to pull it off. I have continuous flow of oxygen day and night but for whatever reason I can’t seem to get through a night without pulling it off.

    3. The dryness that everyone has. I try oil every day and night but still get a dry nose throat and mouth. I have other factors contributing to this as well, but sometimes I get a very sharp and cold pain going up my nasal passage up to my eyebrows. Does anyone else have this? Is this common with patients on oxygen?
    Thank you so much

    • Margaret Goodman
      Margaret Goodman August 2, 2018 at 8:17 am

      1. You can look into getting a room or home humidifier.
      2. In addition to using tape, you might want to try tightening the cannula around your neck with the fastener.
      3. It seems that a lot of patients have dryness. If you feel that something is wrong consult with your doctor about additional possible solutions.

  • Sandra

    There is a cup that you use with it and fill with distilled water .

  • Karin Hoffman

    My oxygen company specifically said not to use any oil as it is combustible does that include sesame oil. The bleeding in my nose is heavy with large clots. And it is fairly consistent.

    • Margaret Goodman

      Sesame oil in your nose should not cause a combustible reaction. You can also speak to your doctor to see what other options they may have for you to help with your bloody nose.

  • Sondra

    Besides the sesame seed oil treatment for dry nasal passages, I have success with aloe vera gel - applied with a clean fingertip. My doctor rejected using any product with a petroleum base due to its possible flammability.

  • Larry Williams
    Larry Williams June 13, 2019 at 6:48 pm

    I've been on 24/7 oxygen for 5 years. I am retired and have time to use a Q-tip, with warm water, several times a day ,or however neccassary, to gently swab out my nostrils as they plug up. It seems to have slowed down the nosebleeds considerably,as long as I maintain the daily swabs. The most important one is the first one in the morning. Be patient,swap gently,continuously cleaning the tip under warm running water,and using as many Q-tips, as needed . Blow nose nostril at a time, to remove the softened,overnight build-up . TThe sesame oil sounds like a good idea. I'll try it.

  • Joan Reed

    I don't have a question, however, I would like to say that this has been very interesting reading. Thanks to everyone for their input.


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