If you or someone you know uses oxygen therapy equipment, no matter how often it is, it is crucial that every part of it is thoroughly cleaned on a regular basis.
Whilst this is important for general sanitary reasons, it is also crucial when it comes to preventing illness.
People that use oxygen therapy equipment are usually more susceptible to respiratory bacteria and viruses.
Simply keeping each piece of equipment clean is a great way to reduce the risk of any unwanted viruses or bacteria affecting the individual.
One of the key pieces of oxygen therapy equipment you have to ensure is kept clean is the nasal cannula.
If you’ve never cleaned one before, this may seem quite hard and confusing, but don’t worry, we’re here to help!
In this post, we’re going to show you how to safely and effectively clean a nasal cannula. If you need advice, keep reading!
What Is A Nasal Cannula?
Before you can even start thinking about cleaning a nasal cannula, it is important that you fully understand what one is.
For those that aren’t sure, let us first start by explaining what a nasal cannula is.
A nasal cannula is a medical device that provides supplemental oxygen therapy to individuals that have lower oxygen levels.
Typically, there are two different types of nasal cannulas. Those are low flow and high flow.
It is worth noting that both types of nasal cannula have two prongs that sit below the nose. It is these two prongs that deliver oxygen to the individual.
The oxygen is delivered directly into the nostrils.
When it comes to why nasal cannulas are used, the reasons vary a lot. Some of the most common reasons someone might use a nasal cannula include:
- Heart failure
- Respiratory failure
- Sleep apnea
- Collapsed lung
- Breathing difficulty
How Do You Clean A Nasal Cannula?
Now you know exactly what a nasal cannula is, we can move on to answering the question that brought you to this post. That question is of course, how do you clean a nasal cannula?
This may seem like a daunting task at first but it’s actually very simple.
Whilst most people that use a nasal cannula wear a mask as opposed to the two tubes, the cleaning method is the same for both.
As long as you follow the right steps and thoroughly clean the nasal cannula, you won’t have any issues.
To make your life easier, we’ve put together a simple step-by-step guide that will help you clean the nasal cannula.
Follow each step carefully to safely clean the equipment!
What You Need
The only things you need to clean a nasal cannula are:
- Warm water
Once you have these three things, you can easily clean the nasal cannula.
Cleaning The Nasal Cannula
- To start, add some soap to a bowl of warm water.
- After that, take the nasal cannula and wash it thoroughly in warm, soapy water. You should soak the nasal cannula in the water for a couple of minutes whilst doing this to ensure it is perfectly clean.
- Once you’ve washed the nasal cannula, give it a good rinse in a solution that consists of one part vinegar and 10 parts water. Rinsing the nasal cannula in vinegar will kill any leftover bacteria that lingers.
- Next, rinse the nasal cannula thoroughly with hot water. Make sure the vinegar solution has been completely cleaned off.
- When clean, you can leave the nasal cannula to dry. Hanging it up is the best way to do this but laying it on a clean surface is okay too.
- Once the nasal cannula has dried, you can reattach it and leave it until you need to clean it again.
How Often Should You Clean A Nasal Cannula?
Whilst there are no official guidelines or rules to follow, it is widely accepted that a nasal cannula should be cleaned once a week.
Cleaning the cannula once a week ensures it stays free from any bacteria or viruses.
Having said this, there is nothing wrong with cleaning a nasal cannula more than once a week.
If you start to see a build-up of mucus in the cannula, feel free to wash it more than once a week.
Some people also like to clean a nasal cannula more than once a week when they have a cold or the flu.
How Often Should A Nasal Cannula Be Replaced?
Cleaning a nasal cannula isn’t the only way you can prevent the risk of viruses or bacteria. It is also important to replace the nasal cannula at least once every two to four weeks.
Replacing the nasal cannula on a regular basis again ensures that no bacteria and viruses build up in the tubing.
How often you need to change the cannula will vary depending on a number of factors.
For example, if you have a cold or virus, you might want to change the cannula more regularly.
On the other hand, if you’ve cleaned the cannula once a week and haven’t seen a build-up of mucus, you might want to leave the nasal cannula for longer.
It is also worth noting that you should clean the air filter every month and the tubing every two months.
Cleaning The Nasal Cannula Whilst It’s Still Connected?
It might not be the easiest way to clean a nasal cannula but you can clean it whilst leaving it connected to the extension or swivel.
To do this, simply wash the cannula from where the single tubes divide to the nasal prong tips.
Once again, use a few drops of soap mixed with warm water before rinsing and drying them thoroughly.
In this guide, we showed you how to clean a nasal cannula.
Now that you’ve made your way through the guide, you should know exactly what you have to do to clean a nasal cannula, how often you have to do it, and how to ensure no bacteria or viruses survive the cleaning process.
We even showed you how often you should replace nasal cannulas, and why it is important to do so.
Now you have all this information, all that’s left to do now is clean your nasal cannula.