A pump hose customer in the USA asked if I could find a way he could enjoy aromas through a nasal cannula. I realised that pump bulb controlled aromas without a mask is a great idea, it means nothing need cover the mouth and you have absolute control of the aromas dosing. I regarded it as a challenge and put my thinking cap on. Realising there is no good way to use a nasal cannula with a pump hose, I started considering alternative ways to get aromas into a cannula.
After looking at the problem for some time, I settled on a design which allows complete control of the aromas and simulates the way a nasal cannula feels, when being used for oxygen therapy – I had the perfect answer.
I acquired all the parts I did not already have available from stock and made a prototype. When I tested it, it worked like a dream.
I sent the prototype to the buyer and received the comment, ‘It’s amazing, thanks.’ So I posted a couple of pictures of the kit on social media and immediately had an order for a second one. The second one was well received also, so I set about streamlining the design to produce this commercial version.
How it works
The mixer box, which is the heart of the system, lets you add aromas to the small airflow which constantly flows through the cannula. The flow of air is much the same as the flow of oxygen which passes through a nasal cannula when one is used to give oxygen in a hospital recovery room.
The box, which has a pump bulb and a bottle with aromas connected to it, allows an amount of aromas to be added to the airflow every time the pump bulb is squeezed. If the bulb is not squeezed, no aromas flow into the cannula – you only get aromas when you want, never when you don’t.
A small mains or battery powered air pump, pushes a constant airflow through the mixer box to the cannula. Mains pumps are for the UK and Europe, with battery pumps for use elsewhere.
The tubes with the bottle top attached push onto the pair of connectors at the right on the front of the box. The tubes should be able to hang down in free space over the edge from the connectors, so that the bottle can hang in an upright position, as shown above.
The pump bulb is connected to the single connector at the left, on the front of the mixer box, using a one and a half metre tube.
The left hand connector at the back of the box is the air input. It is connected to the outlet of the electric air pump using a three metre long silicone tube.
Three metres of tubing lets you put the air pump far enough away from the mixer box and the user, so any humming sound made by the pump is inaudible, or at least, quiet enough to be ignored.
The electric air pump should be switched off until set-up is complete. Once switched on, the pump will maintain a constant flow of air through the mixer and cannula. This airflow will never contain aromas unless the silicone bulb is pumped. When the silicone bulb is pumped, aromas are added to this flow. After manual pumping has stopped, the constant airflow will push all of the pumped aromas through to the cannula.
The airflow adjuster at the centre of the back of the mixer box must be free to move easily. If it is turned anti-clockwise and screwed completely in, no air will flow through the box from the electric pump to the cannula. Turning the adjuster clockwise opens the valve and allows air to flow through to the cannula. The adjuster can be set at a position which gives a small airflow, similar to the flow when a nasal cannula is used to provide oxygen. The airflow adjuster knob will unscrew completely but must be in place for the system to work correctly.
The plastic luer connector on the end of the cannula should be pushed firmly onto the luer connector at the back of the box. Twisting the plastic connector slightly left and right as you push, may help it settle more fully.
Once all components are connected, some aromas can be added to one of the bottles and the bottle screwed onto its cap on the tubes.
Using the system
The cannula pump system is very efficient and should be used with great care until its potency is fully understood. Only a few squeezes of the pump bulb are needed to give a dose of aromas if the pumping is in time with breathing. It only takes moments for aromas to be expelled from the cannula when the pump bulb is squeezed.
With the bottle loaded and in place, the electric air pump switched on and the cannula settled in a comfortable position, set the airflow adjuster so that there is a barely perceptible air flow through the cannula. If you have ever had oxygen through a nasal cannula in a hospital, you will probably recognise the small flow.
Breath out and stop breathing for a moment. Then, as you slowly breath in, squeeze and release the pump bulb three or four times. Hold your breath for a moment and then breath normally. You will soon realise how much aromas you have received and how effective the system is.
As you become familiar with the system, you will learn how often you need to use the pump bulb and how many squeezes you want each time.
When you buy a system you will receive:
- A mixer box, which is the heart of the system. It is a beautifully engineered enclosure, made from black anodised, extruded aluminium. The box has ABS end panels and non-slip feet. It is fitted with two types of custom stainless steel connector, an airflow adjuster and some internal tubing and valves.
- One of three country specific mains powered air pumps or battery powered air pump to give a constant flow of air through the cannula. The pump connects to the mixer box with a three metre length of silicone tubing. The length of the tube allows the pump to be sited away from the mixer box and the user. The distance is more important with the battery pump option as the mains powered pumps are remarkably quiet. The battery pump makes the sound you may expect from an aquarium air pump and requires two D cells (U2, LR20, MN1300) which are not supplied, in order to operate.
- A moulded silicone pump bulb with a flow restricting connector, just like pump hoses have, is supplied with one and a half metres of silicone tubing.
- Three nasal cannulas with standard luer fittings are included. Additional cannulas are readily available online from various sources.
- A bottle top with two captive silicone tubes which connects to the front of the mixer box.
- Two 30ml glass bottles – one is a spare just in case of a breakage.
- A spare airflow control knob is included – for use if the pre-fitted one is lost.
- Printed instructions with guidance on both use and care.
To find the pump system on the eBay UK site use: ‘Nasal Cannula Aromas Pump System’.
The printed instructions included with each cannula pump system are available to download as a pdf file by clicking on the image to the left.