For those who need to use an oxygen concentrator, humidifiers are a tool that is there for comfort.
If you bought your oxygen concentrator without a humidifier, you may notice that your throat and nasal passages get quite dry when using it.
Many of the larger portable oxygen concentrators come with a humidifier built in since they have higher flows of oxygen, which can dry out your nasal passages.
Many stationary oxygen concentrators that use AC power instead of batteries also accommodate a humidifier.
Does a Humidifier Help with Increasing Oxygen?
Increasing the level of oxygen in the room is accomplished by using a humidifier and a portable concentrator.
The concentrator brings air in from the environment around it and then processes it inside.
This process separates the oxygen from other gases in the environment to supply the humidifier with concentrated oxygen.
A humidifier is a unit that is separate but connects to the oxygen concentrators through a host.
The oxygen flows from the oxygen concentrator to the humidifier. From there, it gets filtered through the water.
It creates a mist that is released containing a higher oxygen concentration, which not only increases the oxygen level in the air but also the relative humidity.
Be sure to only use distilled water in the humidifier and clean it properly each day.
How To Use a Humidifier with the Oxygen Concentrator?
Follow these steps to attach the humidifier to the oxygen concentrator:
- Using distilled water, fill the humidifier to the fill line. Be sure not to overfill it.
- Secure the cap of the bottle. Be sure you don’t cross thread as you tighten it, otherwise, it will leak.
- Fit the Velcro strap onto the oxygen concentrator tank and place the bottle in the strap. Some humidifiers will also have a shelf built in that the bottle can rest on.
- Screw in one end of the adapter tubing into the top of the bottle cap. Attach the opposite end to the outlet port on the oxygen concentrator.
- Attach the cannula to the bottle outlet of the humidifier.
Check for any bubbles once the connections have all been secured and the oxygen concentrator is turned on.
If you notice bubbles, this could indicate a loose connection or a leak.
Double-check to ensure the humidifier cap isn’t cross-threaded. It couldn’t hurt to check all of the tubing connections as well.
There are built-in pressure sensors in some humidifier bottles that will sound an alarm if they are triggered.
In the event of this, turn the oxygen concentrator off and look for any kinks in the tubing that might stop the oxygen from getting through the tube.
Be sure that you sanitize the bottle once a week to stop bacteria from building up.
If you have a disposable humidifier, you should replace it twice a month. These bottles are not safe for the dishwasher.
How to Clean and Maintain an Oxygen Humidifier Bottle?
Now when you are aware of how to connect a humidifier bottle to an oxygen concentrator it’s important to know how you should clean it properly.
For cleaning and sanitizing your machine, you can follow the steps below…
Disinfecting and Cleaning the Exterior
The outer cover of the machine needs to be cleaned once a week as well as in between uses between patients.
Before you clean, turn the machine off and completely disconnect it from the power source.
Then, use a damp cloth with a household cleaner or mild soap to clean it. Finally, wipe it dry.
Disinfecting the Humidifier Bottle
It is important that you DO NOT use tap water in the humidifier bottle.
This could cause infections as there could be micro-organisms and pathogens that go right into the lungs by way of the nasal passages.
Keep these tips in mind when cleaning the humidifier bottle:
- Change the water every single day; don’t just top it up.
- Empty the humidifier bottle and wash both the exterior and interior with soap and water. Give it a disinfectant rinse and then rinse it with hot water. Refill the bottle with distilled water. Check the manufacturer’s instructions to see if they have a specific way they require the product to be cleaned. This is important.
- Don’t touch the inside of the lid or bottle once it has been disinfected. This way, you can avoid any contamination.
- Be sure you fill above the minimum line and just beneath the maximum line on the bottle. Any excess water could result in water droplets moving with the oxygen to the nasal passage.
- The bottle should be disinfected by soaking it in antiseptic solution for at least thirty minutes, rinsed with water and then completely dried once a week. If used between patients, it should be cleaned more frequently.
Avoiding Contamination of Nasal Cannula
The cannula should be disposed of after using them.
This is true even when caring for the same patient. Be sure it doesn’t come into contact with any dirty surfaces.
The prongs tend to become contaminated when the patient doesn’t have the cannula protected between uses.
Pathogenic organisms that get on the prongs are then directly inhaled into the mucous membranes in the nasal passage. This could cause a respiratory infection.
Replacing Oxygen Tubing and Other Accessories
It is not always practical to disinfect certain accessories, such as oxygen tubing, the nasal cannula, extension tubing, water trap, and so on.
Instead, you must replace them with new, sterile accessories and do so at the frequency that is required by the manufacturer.
If the manufacturer doesn’t indicate a frequency with which you need to change it, do so every two weeks.
You may need to do so even more often if you can see that it is visibly dirty or if it malfunctions in any way.
The most common malfunctions are caused by clogs of respiratory excretions, kinks, and bends in the tubing or moisturizers that are put in the nostrils.
If the water trap is placed right in line with the tubing or the oxygen, be sure you examine the trap every day to make sure no water has settled.
Empty it when the need arises. It is good to replace the tubing for the oxygen, including the water trap, once a month at the very least.
Meen Smith is a nurse by profession who loves writing online, spending time with her family and caring for the elderly. She has already worked as an associate editor on various moms, babies, home appliances, kitchen, and healthy living blogs. In her spare time, she also enjoys drawing, reading/writing kindle eBooks and improving her skills a bit.