Facemask Safety for Oxygen Therapy Users

Ensuring Facemask Safety for Oxygen Therapy Users

September 28, 20234 min read

Oxygen therapy plays a vital role in medical treatment, aiding individuals with respiratory conditions in obtaining the necessary oxygen for comfortable breathing. For certain users of oxygen therapy, utilizing a facemask becomes essential to ensure effective oxygen delivery. Nevertheless, it's imperative to employ facemasks safely to optimize outcomes and mitigate potential risks.

Guidelines for Public Facemask Usage

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommend the use of cloth face coverings in public settings to curb the transmission of respiratory droplets, a primary route of COVID-19 spread. While maintaining a six-foot distance is crucial, wearing a fabric mask adds an extra layer of protection. The virus mainly spreads through respiratory droplets generated when speaking, coughing, or sneezing.

This guidance serves two purposes: Firstly, cloth masks act as a barrier, reducing the risk of spreading the virus. Secondly, they offer some protection to the wearer, provided others in proximity also wear masks.

When should you wear a cloth facemask? The CDC advises individuals aged two and older to wear cloth masks in public, especially in situations where maintaining distance is challenging, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, or while picking up takeout from local eateries. If you anticipate close contact with others, wearing a mask is recommended.

While the CDC urges caution for those with breathing difficulties, many jurisdictions now mandate the use of cloth face coverings in public spaces. Most people should adapt to wearing masks, which, if worn correctly, should not impede oxygen therapy or breathing.

6 Tips for Comfortably Wearing a Facemask During Oxygen Therapy

Wearing a facemask while undergoing oxygen therapy can pose challenges, but with some adjustments and practice, it can be achieved safely and comfortably. Here are six tips to help ensure that your cloth facemask fits well, remains secure, and does not disrupt your oxygen therapy:

  1. Explore different masks: Not all facemasks are alike, so experiment with various designs to find one that suits your face comfortably. Opt for a breathable, 100% cotton mask that fits securely. Whether buying a ready-made mask or crafting one yourself, choose a style that suits you best. Look for masks with adjustable ear loops or straps for a personalized fit.

  2. Practice at home: Familiarize yourself with putting on, adjusting, and removing your facemask at home to build confidence. Practice speaking and breathing while wearing the mask to ensure it does not impede your oxygen therapy. Try different ways of securing the mask to determine what works best for you.

  3. Ensure proper coverage: Your facemask should cover your mouth, nose, and chin without slipping or feeling too tight. It should also accommodate your nasal cannula and tubing without causing discomfort or hindering your breathing. Adjust the mask to fit snugly over your nose and secure it beneath your chin to prevent gaps.

  4. Seek adjustable features: Many cloth facemasks offer adjustable features like a flexible top edge to ensure a secure fit over your nose. This not only helps keep the mask in place but also enhances comfort when wearing your nasal cannula. Look for masks with adjustable ear loops or straps to customize the fit to your facial contours.

  5. Remove your mask safely: Wash your hands thoroughly before handling your mask to prevent contamination. When taking off your mask, only touch the straps and avoid contact with your face or oxygen tubing. Fold the mask inward to prevent exposure of the outer surface, and store it in a designated bag or container until washing.

  6. Maintain cleanliness: Adhere to CDC guidelines for cleaning your facemask and oxygen tubing regularly. Wash your mask by hand or machine using hot water and detergent, and let it air dry completely before reuse. Clean your nasal cannula and tubing with mild soap and water, ensuring thorough rinsing. Allow them to dry fully before reconnecting to your oxygen source.

Adjusting to wearing a facemask during oxygen therapy may require some time, but with practice and the right adjustments, you can wear it comfortably and safely. Remember to prioritize your health by wearing the mask correctly and practicing good hygiene.

Author: Jen Coltri, Content and Marketing Manager for Imogen. Imogen is dedicated to offering guidance for individuals using supplemental oxygen, empowering them to navigate daily life confidently and comfortably.


While the CDC advises wearing a cotton mask to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, some individuals dependent on oxygen may find this challenging. However, there are strategies to ensure adequate oxygen intake while minimizing the risk of virus transmission. Using a surgical or N95 mask along with an air purifier or vacuum pump, known to filter out droplets, is one approach in close proximity to others. Another option is to apply disposable filters to your machine, eliminating the need for daily maintenance.

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