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How can I prevent cannula marks?

I am on oxygen each night and am a side sleeper. Each morning my cannula leaves deep marks on both sides of my face. These take 4-6 hours to mostly fade away.

How can I prevent cannula marks or help them fade faster?


Does anyone have any experience or suggestions to either prevent or to help remove these impressions?




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  1. A cover can easily be sewn using a soft fabric like flannel and some soft velcro.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing this tip with the community ! ~Melanie (COPD.net team member)

  2. Soft cannulas came out a few years ago. They are wonderful and leave no marks. I get mine from LINCARE which is nation wide I believe.

    1. Hi Stretch22, and thank you for joining in the conversation here. Glad to hear you're having success with the soft cannulas provided by the supplier, Lincare.

      To make our readers more aware, there are currently several manufacturers who make the softer-style cannulas - we have had them in the hospital setting for many, many years. For those of our members / readers who are interested, this is something that can be discussed with your medical equipment supplier.

      We appreciate your feedback, Stretch22.
      Warmly,
      Leon (site moderator COPD.net)

    2. Hi Stretch22 - Thank you for sharing that with the community. The soft cannulas are great! If you can get them through your home care company that's wonderful - not all have them or are willing to supply them.
      Best, Lyn (site moderator)

  3. I purchased cannula covers from Amazon recently that work if you can get them to stay on. I tried them first as they came but because the were straight they wouldn't keep the cannula inside the the cover. I then cut the covers in half that worked really good until I lost one of them. I believe you could make them yourself, all they are is really small diameter foam rubber tubing with a slit down it so you can get it over the tubing. I'm going to look around to see if I can find some probably at a craft store.

    1. Hi again, Duchess15, and thanks for lending your support and sharing the experience you have managing this concern. It sounds like what you've done was successful for you. Keep up the good work! We appreciate your input.
      Leon (site moderator COPD.net)

  4. Hi PapaNoz, and thanks for your excellent post/question. Please know you are not alone with your concern as others in the community have expressed similar issues when it comes to the 'marks' and 'redness' left by the cannula tubing, which appear to affect some patients.

    There are several remedies you can try - some are more 'ad lib' than scientific. You can evaluate the suggestions personally, to see if any appeal to you with any level of practicality.

    First, this may be related to the brand of cannula you are using. Some brands are stiffer than others. Although we do not recommend or discount any particular brand, the Salter name, historically, has been associated with a softer-style tubing.

    Second, some members have shared that they position or brace a 'cushion' (gauze, cotton, etc.), as a buffer between the cannula tubing and the skin.

    Finally, although this is not by manufacturer design, some patients position the hose over the ears, and behind their head, rather than over the ears and under the chin. As mentioned, this is not the way the manufacturers intend them to be used, but I have seen it done with success in some cases.

    I'm hopeful others will see your question and post their professional and/or anecdotal experiences here for all of us to read.

    Wishing you well,
    Leon (site moderator COPD.net)

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