Oxygen supplies 

Oxygen Supplies Respiratory supplies, like masks, nebulisers, cannulas, tubes and specialised kits, are types of acute and long-term oxygen therapy products and aerosol therapy products. These supplies help improve patient comfort and safety by making it easier to breathe and treating respiratory afflictions.

Oxygen therapy products increase the amount of oxygen in the blood by providing the patient with oxygen (often in gas form). This prevents hypoxemia, which can potentially cause irreversible damage to vital organs.1

Oxygen can be delivered to the body through:

  • Facemasks
  • Nasal tubes or tubes in the windpipe.2

Aerosol therapy products comfortably provide efficient nebulisation. Nebulisation is the delivery of a drug directly into the airways through a cloud or mist. An inhaler or nebuliser can be used in aerosol therapy.3 With so many methods of application for these two therapies, it is important to know when to use which products.

Oxygen masks

An oxygen mask is placed over the nose and mouth to transfer oxygen into the lungs when the body is not able to get enough oxygen on its own. Oxygen administration is routine for many emergency room, ICU and surgical patients. And it can be used for acute and long-term care. Many patients suffering from the following conditions use oxygen: (Image: Oxygen Therapy)

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Pneumonia
  • Asthma
  • Underdeveloped lungs in new-borns
  • Heart failure
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Sleep apnea
  • Lung disease
  • Trauma to the respiratory system.4

A patient’s doctor determines the best use frequency and oxygen concentration. These factores important criteria in mask selection. Depending on oxygen needs, a medium or high concentration mask (also called a reservoir mask) can be selected. Other important factors to consider include patient and staff safety and patient comfort. First of all, to avoid contamination and infection risks and lower cleaning and sterilisation costs, it is recommended to use disposable oxygen masks. Secondly, considering the high prevalence of latex allergies amongst healthcare workers (an estimated 8 to 12 per cent) and the general population (an estimated 1 to 6 per cent),5 it is vital that oxygen masks are latex-free. Finally, despite oxygen therapy’s many benefits, patients do not always wear the mask as often as they should. This is sometimes due to comfort and concern over physical appearance.6 To ease this burden, it is essential that the mask is as comfortable as possible and includes adjustable straps. A transparent colourcan make the mask a bit less claustrophobic and also allows the medical staff to evaluate face colour and vital signs.

Taking COPD as an example, the benefits of oxygen therapy are astounding:

  • Easier breathing
  • Increased survival in some cases
  • Reduced complications and less negative symptoms
  • Improved quality of life in terms of energy, exercise, sex, travel and social life.7

Nasal cannula and oxygen tubes

For patients who are stable and can breathe on their own but still require respiratory help, i.e. small amounts of supplemental oxygen, nasal cannulas can be used. A nasal cannula is a tube placed under the nose with two prongs that rest in the nostrils. These prongs supply low levels of oxygen. The other end of the cannula attaches to oxygen tubing to connect it to the oxygen source. Nasal cannulas are the most common way to deliver oxygen to a patient. They can be used in acute-care settings and to treat asthma, COPD, cystic fibrosis, pneumonia, sleep apnoea and underdeveloped lungs in new-borns.8Nasal Cannula with Tubing-

For patients with chronic, but stable, respiratory issues, the cannula lets them receive oxygen while eating, drinking and talking. Cannulas are less intrusive and obtrusive, which can make the patient feel less claustrophobic and more empowered to take part in normal daily activities.9 They also reduce the risk of carbon dioxide rebreathing.10 One drawback of nasal cannulas is chafing or dry nasal passages, which can cause nosebleeds. Usually, this resolves itself on its own,11 but ointments are also available to ease these side effects.12

Patient comfort and safety are also very important when choosing a cannula. For full mobility, the cannula should be worn around the ears, and the two nasal prongs should be soft. This gives the wearer higher comfort and less risk of chafing. Latex-free, disposable products are also key. Nasal cannulas should be cleaned weekly, and the cannulas and the tubing should be changed every two to six months (depending on use frequency) and after any illness.13

Aerosol masks

Like oxygen masks, aerosol masks also fit over the nose and mouth. But these types of masks are used in combination with aerosol therapy. ‘Aerosol therapy has revolutionised the treatment of several respiratory diseases including obstructive airway diseases’. This therapy delivers the drug directly into the lower airways in an aerosolised form. Aerosol therapy uses lower doses with a higher concentration. Therefore, it has side effects and provides a more rapid response to the medicine. In addition, it is rapid, targeted to the pulmonary system, painless and relatively convenient.

Aerosol therapy can be used to treat asthma, COPD, cystic fibrosis, chest colds, the flu and pneumonia. Drugs like vaccines, insulin, antibiotics and painkillers can also be administered with aerosol therapy.

Aerosol Therapy

  • Asthma
  • COPD
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Chest colds
  • Pneumonia

Aerosol Treatment

  • Vaccines
  • Insulin
  • Antibioptics
  • Painkillers

Metered dose inhalers, dry powder inhalers and nebulisers are the main devices used to provide this therapy, with the drug being administered through a mouthpiece or a mask. When masks are used, for example during surgery or for continuous aerosol therapy, it is very important that they are disposable, latex-free, comfortable, adjustable and also clear. This is for the same reasons as mentioned above for oxygen therapy.

Medline’s respiratory equipment

Medline’s respiratory equipment

Medline offers both oxygen and aerosol therapy products, including:

  • Medium, high and variable (Venturi) oxygen concentration masks
  • Oxygen nasal cannulas
  • Nebulisers
  • Aerosol and tracheotomy masks
  • Aerosol therapy kits with a mask or universal mouthpiece

These products are available in a variety of adult and paediatric sizes and styles. All of the respiratory products supplied by Medline respiratory products are latex-free and designed with safety, comfort and effectiveness in mind. We apply high-quality standards to our products and in our manufacturing facility. The facility is EN ISO 13485:2012 certified.

Contact Medline 

To learn more about Medline’s respiratory products, please call our customer service team at +44 844 334 5237 or fill out the contact form below.

1 Dr. Virendra S. (2011). Supplemental oxygen therapy: Important considerations in oral and maxillofacial surgery, 2(1), 10-14. Doi 10.4103/0975-5950.85846
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (n.d.).Oxygen therapy. Retrieved on October 17, 2018, from https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov
Khilnani G.C. and Banga Amit. (2007). Aerosol Therapy. Retrieved on October 17, 2018, from http://medind.nic.in
Health Line. (n.d.). Oxygen Therapy. Retrieved on October 17, 2018, from https://www.healthline.com
5 Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). Latex Allergy. Retrieved on October 17, 2018, from https://www.cdc.gov
Leader Deborah. (January 2018). The Benefits of Oxygen Therapy. Retrieved on October 17, 2018, from https://www.verywellhealth.com
7 ibid.

Weatherspoon Deborah, PhD, RN. (January 2017). What are nasal cannulas and face masks? Retrieved on October 17, 2018, from https://www.healthline.com
Thompson Ann E. (2011). Nasal cannula. Retrieved on October 17, 2018, https://www.sciencedirect.com
10 Kelly Carol. (2011). When should a nasal cannula be used to deliver oxygen? Retrieved on October 17, 2018, from https://www.nursingtimes.net
11 ibid.
12 Weatherspoon Deborah, PhD, RN. (January 2017). What are nasal cannulas and face masks? Retrieved on October 17, 2018, from https://www.healthline.com
13 Ridl Scott. (February 2015). Customer questions: How often should I change my Oxygen Cannula? Retrieved on October 17, 2018, from https://www.oxygenconcentratorstore.com

The products mentioned on this page are class IIa medical devices intended to be used by healthcare professionals. Before use, consult instructions and precautions on the corresponding labelling.
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