Part V: Care and Maintenance of the Nasal Cannula

Depending upon your insurance, your oxygen supply company may or may not provide you with a supply of nasal cannulas (at no added expense) when they set up your concentrator or deliver your oxygen on a monthly basis. Most nasal cannulas on the market today are disposable, but this doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be kept clean between replacements. Take a look at the following for general information about replacement and cleaning:

How Often Should I Change My Nasal Cannula and Extension Tubing?

That depends on the manufacturer. Many manufacturers recommend replacing your cannula every two weeks, while others suggest replacing it monthly. Be sure to check with your oxygen supply company and follow their advice as to how often your nasal cannula should be replaced.

Extension tubing should also be replaced according to the manufacturer’s instructions, generally every 3 months. Again, check with your oxygen supply company for specific recommendations based on your individual needs.

Tip: As a general rule, most oxygen tubing becomes yellow and stiff as it ages. If, after removing the nasal cannula and tubing from the face, it remains the same shape as your cheeks and face, it’s time to change the tubing.

Care and Cleaning of the Nasal Cannula

Many manufacturers recommend cleaning your nasal cannula with a sanitizing solution daily between replacements to prevent a buildup of bacteria that may lead to infection. Some people prefer washing their cannulas in warm, soapy water, rinsing with a vinegar solution, and allowing them to air dry. Be sure to check with your oxygen supply company to determine the appropriate method of cleaning all of your oxygen supplies, including your nasal cannula, face mask, and humidifier. Purchase or view nasal cannulas and nasal cannula accessories here.