Customer Question: How Often Should I Change my Oxygen Cannula?

"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.

Thank you for this question, Bobbi, we're very glad that you are satisfied with your new concentrator and our service. The question of changing your cannula is very important and the answer depends on a few different factors.

Changing your cannula isn't just to clean it every so often, it's because it is made of plastic which can deteriorate over time. You may not be able to see the microscopic deterioration but tiny cracks and pores in the plastic can occur. In these tiny cracks and pores, bacteria and mold can start to breed, and dirt, dust and other small irritants 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 return once you've gotten over it if the bacteria is still present in the tubing. A virus can mutate if it's still living in the tubing and come back stronger 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 you need to wash one, or if you lose one. Interested in purchasing a replacement cannula? Feel free to contact one of our oxygen specialists at 877-774-9271. Our nasal cannula and tubes are inexpensive and always stocked so you won't have any trouble purchasing one when you need it.

4 thoughts on “Customer Question: How Often Should I Change my Oxygen Cannula?”

  • Wendy

    My unused cannuls are turning pink?

    • Danielle Jason
      Danielle Jason May 22, 2017 at 2:48 am

      Thank you for your comment, Wendy. Cannulas should be changed every 3-6 months depending on your usage. Pink coloring can occur starting at the nose piece due to the material not being chemically bleached and treated. As long as the unused cannulas are in their sealed bag in a moisture free environment they are safe and effective to use. Feel free to give our Service department a call at 877-303-9289 if you have any further questions.

  • Harry Sauer

    By not changing tubing & cannula as recommended, will this cause me to smell like something was burning? Thanks

    • Danielle Jason

      When operating your machine you should NEVER smell anything akin to smoke or burning. If you are smelling burning or smoke we suggest you immediately find an oxygen replacement and stop using your machine and accessories that smell like smoke, burning, or fire of any kind. Please contact our Customer Service Department immediately at 877-303-9289.


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