Everything You Need to Know About Oxygen Tubing

Aug 10, 2022

Everything You Need to Know About Oxygen Tubing

An important part of every oxygen system is oxygen tubing. If you’ve ever wondered how to connect oxygen tubing, how to wear it or even what length it should be, we can help. Below, we’ll take an in-depth look at what oxygen tubing is, why it’s important and how to use it correctly.

Defining oxygen tubing

Oxygen tubes are used for oxygen delivery during at-home oxygen therapy or in-clinic procedures. The tubing connects to an oxygen source (e.g., an oxygen concentrator or cylinder) and provides a steady flow of oxygen.

How oxygen tubing works

One end of the long tubing connects to the oxygen delivery device; the other end connects to the nasal cannula (two small, plastic prongs that sit inside the nose) or to a face mask. The oxygen moves from the delivery device, through the tubing and into the nose and/or mouth to help regulate the patient’s oxygen levels.

How to manage oxygen tubing at home

Some people may need oxygen at home, in which case it’s important to know how to manage your device to ensure a healthy and unrestricted oxygen supply. But how do you wear oxygen tubing and care for it properly? Here are six things you need to know.

  1. How long oxygen tubing should be
    According to a medical study, the average recommended tubing length is approximately 6 m for concentrators and up to 15 m for oxygen cylinders, though portable oxygen concentrators often use shorter tubing. However, most stationary systems can use longer tubing without fear of disrupting oxygen flow.
  2. How to change oxygen tubing
    You can change your tubing in just a few simple steps. First, connect the nasal cannula to the oxygen tubing connector. Next, connect one end of the tubing to the free end of the connector. Finally, connect the free end of the oxygen tubing to the concentrator or cylinder.
  3. How long to wear tubing
    Not sure how long you should use oxygen tubing before replacing it? We recommend discarding old tubes and connecting new oxygen tubing at least every three months.
  4. How to clean oxygen tubing
    To keep your tubing in good condition, wipe down the outside with a damp cloth every few weeks to prevent dust and dirt from settling on the plastic. If you use a humidifier, wipe down the tubing more frequently and change it once a month. Don’t immerse your tubing in water; if water collects inside of your tubing, drape it over a door or shower curtain rod and allow the water to drain out.
  5. How to use oxygen tubing
    Wondering how to keep an oxygen tube in your nose? The nasal cannula that attaches to one end of the tube should fit comfortably in your nostrils, and the tubes should fit over your ears to hold the cannula in place. If the tubing is still loose, you can use medical tape to help keep it in place.
  6. How to shorten oxygen tubing

If you find yourself with an excess of tubing, the easiest way to shorten it is to roll it up into a neat coil and place it by the concentrator or cylinder until you need it.

Oxygen tubing FAQs

Is oxygen tubing recyclable?

Oxygen tubing is medical waste but isn’t considered a biohazard. While tubing recycling programs are still in their infancy, it is possible to recycle old oxygen tubes or reuse them for something other than supplying oxygen.

Does the length of oxygen tubing matter?

Tubing lengths mostly depend on what type of oxygen delivery device you’re using and where you are. However, longer tubing can pose a tripping hazard and is more likely to get snagged or kinked.

What size is oxygen tubing?

Oxygen tubing is available in various sizes and lengths; speak to your healthcare provider or oxygen supplier to learn which tubing is best for your needs.

Why does oxygen tubing turn brown?
Oxygen tubing turns brown due to a reaction between the oxygen and the plastic material, which changes the chemical makeup of the tubing, especially when exposed to light.

Do I have to wear oxygen tubing at all times?
Many people wonder, “Can I take this oxygen tubing off to go to the bathroom or sleep”? If you are using supplemental oxygen, you must wear the cannula and tubing as recommended by your doctor. Don’t worry, though, because wearing oxygen is safe to do even while sleeping, showering or using the bathroom.

How often should oxygen tubing be changed?
You should change your tubing at least every 90 days.

Oxygen essentials and other medical supplies

Oxygen tubing is an essential element for every oxygen system, whether at home or in a professional setting. Order your tubing and other medical essentials today from Mega Medical, Australia’s leading supplier of quality medical gases, equipment, consumables and more. Call us today on 1300 881 824 for help placing your order or for any questions or concerns.