British Lung Foundation
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Smelly cannula

Hi everyone, This is my first time to write on here but I have been reading your blogs for quite a few weeks.

I was advised by the doctor at the hospital to go onto O2 just when out walking. However I have a problem with the plastic smell of the cannula. I seem to be either elergic or sensitive to it. When I used it for the first time I started coughing a lot and could smell the plastic immediately. After using it for the third time I could hardly tolerate it. I started wheezing and my breathing got worse. Therefore I left it off for a week or so until I felt better, but every time I tried to use it again the same thing happens. The tubing doesn't contain latex and suposed to be hypotensive. I'm at my wits end as I don't know what to now. There will be one day when I may have to use it regularly so I must find a solution. Please is there anyone come across this problem before or any suggestions.

11 Replies

You should ring your local oxygen clinic or Pulmonary Nurse if you have one. Tell them that you are having a problem with the odour. There are many different makes of cannula and hopefully they will get you sorted before your O2 need becomes higher.


I agree with RibvanRey that you should contact your Oxygen provider and/or your Respiratory Nurse and explain your problem.

Good luck.



Thank you Ribvan Rey and TyneandWear for youre replies. I have already told my respiratory nurses, oxygen supplier and BLF help line about my problem. One of the nurses told me that I could buy my own on the Internet but no one has offered to help in any way, but how can I be sure that they won't be smelly and will have the right fitment for my machine.


June, was it actually one of the Respiratory Team of Nurses at the hospital who suggested you buy your own tubing from the Internet? Within that Team of Nurses there should be one who is appointed as an Oxygen Nurse. Find out if this is the case at your hospital and ask to speak to her. She should definitely be able to help you.

There is no way you should have to buy from the Internet.

If your Oxygen supplier is as good as mine, the staff who deliver the Oxygen should be able to give you some good advice.

You need this sorted out ASAP.



Hi Therese, Yes it was a nurse that assessed me for my oxygen. I would have no problem buying my own, I wouldn't mind but it's not as easy to do this as it sounds, it's not as easy as buying one in a shop. I may speak to my oxygen supplier again as they may know more about this as anyone else. Thank you again for your advise and concern. June


It would be interesting to know the results of your queries about the tubing.

Presuming you will be contacting your Oxygen provider tomorrow, please let us know what they say.

Ah! Just thought - maybe you need to wait until you need a new supply so you can speak to whoever deliver sit.

Anyway, please let us know.



I will certainly let you know what happens Therese. I was hoping that there might be someone else that had the same problem or knew of someone else. I feel like a freak. It certainly seems to be a more complicaed problem than I expected.

Thank you once again for your concern.


Thank you Ribvan Rey and TyneandWear for your advise but I have already spoke to respiratory nurses, oxygen supplier and BLF helpline. Just one of the nurse's suggested that I could buy one one the internet b


June you need to talk with your Pulmonary (oxygen) nurse. Your oxygen supplier will only supply what she/he wrote on your prescription.

You would be better off just asking the chap who delivers your cylinders if you use one rather than ringing the supplier.

Regards Rib.


van Rey is my surname :-)

1 like

Oops I made a boo boo. Maybe I'll get the hang of this the next time.


Hello again, I phoned my oxygen suppliers yesterday and they said that I could't buy my own cannula, I have to use the one that comes with the machine as if I used another one it may not give me the right amount of oxygen. I'm gutted that there is no help. My chappy from the oxygen suppliers is coming to check y machine over so I will ask him about it even though the lady on the phone said there is nothing he can do about it.

I'm really depressed about the whole situation and It's doing my head in

Thank you both of you for your concern, I really appreciate it. Surely I'm not the only one with thiis problem.


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