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The Importance of Changing Your Nasal Cannula

Jun 1, 2018 3:19:31 PM / by Cory Luckner

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When you have received a COPD diagnosis, it is often followed by a prescription for medical grade oxygen.

You are left feeling overwhelmed with a wealth of new knowledge you must retain. With COPD you may have a need for supplemental medical grade oxygen. Medical grade oxygen treatment is typically delivered through a tube with two nasal prongs. This is better known as a nasal cannula.

Nasal cannulas are designed to be inserted into your nostrils and attached to your portable or home oxygen concentrator. Meaning they become dirty very quickly and regularly. So you need to make it a top priority to regularly replace and clean your nasal cannulas.

Reading COPD forums and blogs, there are countless patients saying something along the lines of “my oxygen provider tells me to only change my nasal cannula after I’ve had a respiratory infection, such as a cold.” Or “with regular cleaning you should only replace your nasal cannula 1-2 times a month.”

This is problematic because nasal cannulas are made of plastic, which will deteriorate and become infected with germs over time. Even more so when you are sick.

Often times you may not be able to see the deterioration in the form of tiny cracks that allow bacteria and mold to thrive, while dirt, dust, and pollen can get stuck in these cracks. Nasal cannulas and tubing are like a petri dish for germs and bacteria.

Let’s discuss how to ensure healthy use of your nasal cannulas with oxygen therapy.

Change Your Nasal Cannula Every 10 Days

Depending on who you talk to, some manufacturers recommend changing your nasal cannulas once a week whilelady_with_cannula.jpg others say once a month. It’s the same story when you talk to your health care provider.

With conflicting opinions you are left confused, so to save money you may choose to lean towards using 1 or 2 cannulas per month.

The biggest factor for deciding when to change your nasal cannula is your health. If at anytime you have been sick or think you may be coming down with something, you should immediately change your cannula. By doing so you will help minimize the spreading of germs.

If you choose not to replace your cannula after being sick, you will still be at risk for a bacterial infection due to the bacteria still being present on the cannula and tubing. Plus, if the virus is still living in the cannula it can mutate and impact you even worse than before.

Even if you aren’t sick, by only replacing your cannula 1-2 times a month, you are leaving yourself open to large amounts of bacteria that is building up on your nasal cannula. Which could potentially lead to the flu, common cold, or pneumonia.

With that said, the COPDStore recommends that you change your nasal cannulas every 10 days. This may sound costly and time consuming, but with the COPDStore’s Cannula program we make it seamless!

COPDStore Cannula Program

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Another common reason why respiratory patients avoid changing their nasal cannulas is due to the cost, as well as the time and energy requirement of having to run to their local medical supply shop.

Which can often be out of the question when experiencing heightened COPD symptoms such as fatigue or shortness of breath.

The COPDStore’s Cannula program completely eliminates the need to run to a medical supply store, while also saving you money!

Instead of running to a medical supply store when you are out of nasal cannulas, our cannula program will automatically send you a fresh supply of cannulas to your doorstep each month, automatically. Join the cannula program today!

We offer a wide array of packages to best suit your cannula needs:

  • 4ft Monthly Package: 3 Cannulas for $16.99 Per Month
  • 4ft & 7ft Monthly Combo Package: 4 Cannulas for $29.95 Per Month
  • 7ft Monthly Package: 3 Cannulas for $16.99 Per Month

Or save even more money by buying in bulk:

  • 4ft, 6 Month Package: 3 Cannulas for $14.99 Per Month (Total: $89.94/6 Months)
  • 7ft, 6 Month Package: 3 Cannulas for $14.99 Per Month (Total: $89.94/6 Months)
  • 4ft, 12 Month Package: 3 Cannulas for $12.99 Per Month (Total: $155.88/Year)
  • 7ft, 12 Month Package: 3 Cannulas for $12.99 Per Month (Total: $155.88/Year)


How the Cannula Program Benefits You:

  • Save money each month by getting the Comfort Plus cannulas at a discounted price
  • Get a monthly supply of our own branded comfy cannulas shipped directly to your door
  • You'll have the world's softest and most comfortable kink-free cannulas
  • Experience enhanced nasal and face comfort while using your oxygen
  • It's a hassle-free membership; Cancel at any time with ZERO fees
  • Choose between 4ft cannulas, 7ft cannulas, or a combination cannula package
  • Minimize irritation around your nose, ears, and cheeks
  • Eliminate the need to order or purchase cannulas 

Learn more about our cannula program in the video below:

Effective Cannula Cleaning to Minimize Infections

When using a nasal cannula, it’s extremely important that you clean your cannula after each use. If you are prescribed oxygen 24/7, you should aim to clean your cannula 1 to 2 times per day, or more frequently if you are currently sick.

Doing so will help to further protect yourself from bacteria building up on your nasal cannula and infecting you.

Disinfecting your cannula only takes a few minutes. Simply wipe down the nasal prongs with an alcohol wipe or swab, allow to dry, and it’s ready for use.

You should also use warm water mixed with disinfecting dish soap and a half cup of white vinegar to clean your cannula each week, which is demonstrated in the video below:

How to Clean Your Nasal Cannula

Daily Cleaning

  • Step 1: After each use, you should disinfect your nasal cannula with an alcohol pad or swab. 

Weekly Cleaning

At least 1-2 times per week you should clean and disinfect your nasal cannula:

  • Step 1: Fill a bowl with warm or mild water mixed with disinfecting soap and half a cup of white vinegar.
  • Step 2: Allow your cannula to soak in a bowl with the solution for at least 2 minutes.
  • Step 3: Rinse your nasal cannula with water.
  • Step 4: Hang and allow to air dry completely before using again. 

After cleaning your cannula you should hang it up and allow to completely air dry before using again. These cleanings tips still apply when apart of our cannula program.


You should now have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the importance of regularly changing your nasal cannulas.

Remember, by changing your nasal cannulas every 10 days you will prevent the spreading of disease worsening germs that can lead to the common cold, flu, or even pneumonia. And as a patient with COPD, you need to do everything you can to minimize COPD exacerbations.

You no longer are required to drive or even order extra cannulas in advance from your local medical supply store. Instead, you can now have a monthly supply of cannulas sent directly to your door automatically with our monthly cannula packages! What advice have you received in regards to cleaning and replacing your nasal cannulas? Let us know in the comments below!

Topics: COPD Treatment, Nasal Cannulas

Cory Luckner

Written by Cory Luckner

[Blog 2nd part here]