How Often Should We Change Our Hoses and Other Oxygen Information

Just recently, in one of the Alpha-1 support groups, questions have been asked about how often we should change the hoses on our oxygen concentrators. When reading some of the comments, I felt like our doctors and oxygen companies are not doing a good job of explaining these types of things to their patients.

I know that they probably forget to tell their patients certain things. Still, maybe they should come up with an instruction sheet or something of that nature for each patient when they prescribe oxygen to them. You'd think it would be part of the prescription, like when they do with other meds.

Tips for oxygen use

I thought that I would share a few things that The American Lung Association suggests for oxygen use.

Keep your equipment clean

Make sure you wash your nasal cannula and air filter, and wipe the outside of your concentrator with soap and warm water.

I like to add more if needed. Sometimes we are more nasally and produce more drainage, so we might have to clean that sooner than once a week.

When you refill your humidifier bottle, wash it with soap and warm water, rinse well, and refill it with distilled water. Make sure you use distilled water. Tap water may contain bacteria that can lead to lung infections.

Every 2-4 weeks, replace your cannula or mask, and every time you get sick. Every year, ask your oxygen company to service your concentrator.

Every two months, change your oxygen tubing. Change it sooner when you are sick, or you get a hole in your tubing. Check your tubing often for holes or leaks.

Take care of yourself

Keep your nose and lips moist with aloe vera or water-based lubricant. Do not use oil-based products, like petroleum jelly.

If you are having problems with the back of your ears, you can ask your oxygen company to provide foam cushions to relieve the discomfort.

Let others know

Let your local fire department, electric company, and telephone company know you are on oxygen so they can possibly restore power faster during an outage, knowing you use oxygen.

Let your family and friends know that you are on oxygen so they can help in an emergency.

Tell your doctor if you get a lot of headaches, you feel nervous, agitated, drowsy, or confused. Let them know if your lips or fingernails turn blue or if you are having a hard time breathing.

The American Lung Association also suggests keeping your machine away from the wall, not using a drop cord on your machine, and not storing your tanks in the trunks or closets.

Also, do not smoke or cook with an open fire with your oxygen on.

Additional suggestions for nasal cannula and tubing care

Some more suggestions I have are:

After taking a shower or bath with a nasal cannula, if you get water in them, be sure to dry them completely after your shower before and put it back on.

There are so many bacteria in our water that can cause lung infections, and we should be aware of this. If I get too much water in it or get swimming water in my cannula, then I change it altogether.

Since covid, I will also change my cannula if I have been around a sizeable crowd or a medical setting as well or at least clean it very well. This probably does not need to be done but it makes me feel better about it, anyway.

Do you have any questions about your nasal cannula or tubing, or do you have any suggestions for us? We would love to hear about them in the comments below.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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