Oxygen therapy is given in three ways: via a nasal cannula, by an oxygen mask and through a tube inserted into the windpipe, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Oxygen therapy can be given in both a medical setting, such as at a hospital, or at home.
A nasal cannula is the most common way that oxygen therapy is delivered, as reported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. A nasal cannula consists of two small plastic prongs that go into both nostrils. The tubing goes over the ears and is secured under the chin, holding it in place.
A face mask is the preferred option for oxygen therapy for patients who have a clogged nose or are in need of higher concentrations of oxygen, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The mask covers both the nose and mouth, and it is held in place by a strap that goes around the head.
Oxygen therapy can also be delivered through a tube inserted through an incision into the windpipe. This is called transtracheal oxygen therapy, as explained by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Because the air is not passing through the nose or mouth, additional moisture is necessary to prevent the airways from drying out, so a humidifier is added to the oxygen line.