Individuals diagnosed with lung or other chronic illnesses are often prescribed oxygen therapy. However, at times, irritation to the mouth and nose may occur due to long-term use of oxygen tubes or masks. Several effective methods for dealing with a dry nose as a result of oxygen therapy will offer individuals some relief from discomfort or irritation.
Many portable oxygen machines or concentrators come with a humidifier bottle, which enables water to mix in with the oxygen as it flows. The oxygen warms up and helps to prevent the mouth, nose and throat from becoming dry as oxygen is flowing. Use sterile or distilled water, or you may opt to use pre-filled bottles. Don't use tap water because tap water contains minerals that may cause caking or build-up in the machine.
You can soothe a dry and irritated nose by using a water-soluble lubricating jelly on the upper lip and inside the nostrils. Try to avoid getting any type of lubricating jelly on the cannula or mask to make sure oxygen flow is not interrupted or compromised. Swabs containing adequate and oxygen-safe gels may also be purchased from medical-supply stores, but ask your health-care provider or oxygen provider about recommendations according to your needs.
Some individuals find that a new treatment using sesame seed oil provides adequate relief from dry and irritated nostrils caused by constant oxygen therapy. Sesame seed oil has been used for generations as a natural anti-inflammatory and antiviral as well as antioxidant that soothes redness and mild burns caused by sun or wind, or in this case, constant oxygen flow. This oil can be applied with a cotton swab or fingertip to the upper lip under the nose and to the inside of the nostrils for relief. Such oil can be found in most natural-food and health stores. Non-medical saline sprays may also provide comfort to irritated passageways. The key to relief is to try to keep nasal passages moistened, but discuss such remedies with your physician. Talk to your oxygen provider about options to make sure you don't use dangerous or potentially flammable products around your oxygen tanks or breathing devices.