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.
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.
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.
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.
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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