"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.
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.
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.
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.