Tracheostomy and Ventilator Practices

Topic: Trach Moisture

October 14, 2005
I find that the fluidity of my bronchial secretions is affected when there is a low percent of humidity present in the air. The lower the ambient humidity, the thicker the secretions become, and this causes me distress. My physician says the thickness of secretions are related to moisture, and therefore I was able to obtain a large nebulizer compressor that creates a mist that is delivered to a trach mask through a flexible one inch hose. When the humidity falls below fifty percent, I crank the beast up and I stay tethered to the bed area where the laptop sets and the stereo is focused. Without this mechanical aid, I would face serious medical difficulties, being as I have a poor cough, and thick phlegm is always a problem.

I am fortunate to live in a rural area twelve miles from the ocean. Most of the year there is an on-shore breeze that brings sea-air moisture inland and the relative humidity is usually well above the problem point. But in the late summer we have many weeks of the winds blowing off-shore, and the hot, dry wind blowing up from the Mojave dessert rules, the relative humidity hovers in the twenties and even with the humidifier the suction machine labors while pulling secretions from my trach, even using 14 French size catheters. There is no substitute for nice ocean sea air for trach moisture.

I think most trach owners are not living near the ocean and they have solved the problem of trach humidity. How does everyone else deal with the relative humidity issue? Is it a problem for others, or is my situation just unique for me?

Philip, in Carmel Valley, California
Victor Radin@NeckBreathers
October 15, 2005
I use the same thing- soothing ocean breezes... but in a can from Walgreens. It's called Simply Saline and has been a major necessity the last 2 weeks in the desert. What usually lasts me a month is empty after 1 week here, but worth it to get rid of the thick and ropy secretions, especially since I cannot get a portable suction machine as I would only use it 2 or 3 times a year.

vic in phoenix (heading home today)


October 16, 2005

Just a personal observation, based on absolutely NO scientific testing or research... The pink fish always shoot more dratted saline into my trach than I can deal with and I get that feeling of drowning, and end up coughing out the saline and nothing else.

I prefer the control I get from the spray, and usually one small can lasts 3 or 4 weeks with a few times a day shot in the neckhole <g>.

vic in chicagoland
October 14, 2005

I'm near the ocean and have the same problems. When I go outside I use HME (Heat Moisture Exchanger).An HME is also known by other names including an artificial nose, filter. The HME fits onto the end of the trach tube and collects exhaled moisture to humidify the next breath. I use it when I'd like to be free from humidifying equipment.

Anna in Japan

Copyright © 2005 by Philip Childress
Site Initiated October 24, 2005
Updated November 8, 2005