Using supplemental oxygen as part of a treatment plan is common for many people with chronic lung disease, such as COPD or pulmonary fibrosis.
However, if you use oxygen therapy regularly, you could notice increased dryness in your throat, nose, or mouth. Supplemental oxygen use can cause severe dryness, irritated skin, and even nose bleeds.
Here are some simple tips to prevent dryness from oxygen therapy.
What is oxygen therapy?
Having a chronic lung disease makes getting enough oxygen difficult. Oxygen therapy can help people with chronic lung diseases receive sufficient oxygen to get through the day.
Oxygen is delivered through nasal prongs or cannulas, a mask or a breathing tube.
People who require frequent supplemental oxygen are usually prescribed a portable oxygen tank or machine at home.
Preventing Nose Bleeds
Because of the constant flow of air, people using oxygen therapy can have nose bleeds.
The skin inside of your nose is delicate and can become irritated, so a small bump with the side of the nasal cannula can break the skin.
Some people who use a high flow of oxygen through a face mask can also have nose bleeds.
You can prevent nose bleeds caused by using supplemental oxygen by keeping your nostrils moist.
You can try using a humidifier, a nasal moisturizer or a nasal spray. If you’re having frequent nose bleeds, it’s important to tell your doctor and ask what he or she recommends for you.
Preventing Dry Mouth and Throat
Even though many oxygen concentrators have a built-in humidifier, people on supplemental oxygen often experience dry mouth and throat in addition to a dry nose. Using a humidifier can help moisten the air you’re breathing.
Use only distilled water in your humidifier, and keep humidifiers, supplemental oxygen tubing and nasal cannulas clean.
Where can I find nasal moisturizers and humidifiers?
Your doctor is likely to know local medical supply stores that carry nasal moisturizers and humidifiers approved for oxygen therapy, so ask about which products to use and how to use those products safely.
Always check with your doctor before modifying your treatment plan. These products can be found at a local store or ordered on Amazon.
Here are some products to discuss with your doctor at your next appointment:
Are there other options for people with lung disease?
We hope these tips to prevent dryness from oxygen therapy help you breathe easier.
In combination with your treatment plan, supplemental oxygen, pulmonary rehabilitation, and alternative treatment options, there are ways to help you live the life you want to live.
Christine Kingsley, APRN is the Health and Wellness Director at the Lung Institute where she focuses on providing helpful online resources for people looking for information on various lung diseases, breathing exercises, and healthy lifestyle choices. She advocates for holistic care that involves working with your doctor to explore all options including traditional and alternative care while focusing on diet and exercise as proactive measures.