How the nasal cannula helps in your oxygen therapy

How the nasal cannula helps in your oxygen therapy

One of the most important parts of a portable oxygen concentrator is the part you breathe through: the nasal cannula.

It’s probably something you’ve seen and come to associate with oxygen therapy. But perhaps you never stopped to consider what it’s called or how it works.

According to WebMD, the nasal cannula is the most common oxygen therapy approach. It’s a popular choice for oxygen delivery because its small form factor makes it less cumbersome and intrusive than a full oxygen mask.

What is a nasal cannula and when do I need one?

The nasal cannula is a device used to administer supplemental oxygen to those in need of oxygen therapy. It delivers oxygen through two small prongs that rest in your nostrils and leads to clear plastic tubing that tucks over your ears and meets below your chin. The single tube then connects into your oxygen concentrator.

Typically, the device is used to deliver low flow levels of oxygen, but there are also cases where high-flow nasal cannulas are needed.

Supplemental oxygen is prescribed for patients diagnosed with COPD and other respiratory diseases, for both short-term and long-term oxygen treatment.

Proper care and usage of your nasal cannula

Knowing the proper care requirements of your nasal cannula will not only improve its durability, but also ensure the effectiveness of your oxygen therapy over the long haul.

During the typical lifespan, if kept clean, a nasal cannula will last about two months, according to the Lung Institute.

It’s typically advised to wash your cannula once a week in a mixture of 10-parts water and one-part vinegar. Rinse thoroughly and allow to dry.

It’s important to ask your doctor how often you should clean and replace the parts of your oxygen therapy equipment.

Regularly cleaning other parts of your oxygen concentrator such as your oxygen filter will also affect the performance of your nasal cannula.

In conclusion

The nasal cannula is a small device you fit into your nostrils that attaches to your oxygen concentrator. It plays an important role in your oxygen therapy because it provides clean oxygen delivery without being intrusive or cumbersome.

With proper care, you can ensure your device works effectively over its full lifespan. Please consult your doctor and the manufacturer for tips on cleaning.


For more information on using portable oxygen while staying active, please contact us. Enjoy your best health!