HMEs can be considered your “new nose”
After your laryngectomy, you no longer breathe through your nose and mouth. As a result, the air is not heated, filtered or moisturized before it reaches the lungs. This can affect how well you breathe and how your lungs function. It can also result in more mucus production, coughing or mucus plugs. An HME is designed to help your lungs by warming and humidifying the air. It functions like your nose did before your surgery. It also adds slight resistance for breathing to help your lungs function well.
There are different Provox Life HMEs for the different situations and activities
There are several choices of high-performing HMEs to provide the right balance between high humidification (which can reduce coughing and mucus production) and greater breathability (for when you are more active.)
Keep track of the changes in your coughing symptoms on a log:
It may take days or weeks of continuous HME use (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) before you start to notice a reduction in coughing and mucus production. In the beginning, it may seem to increase. This is normal.
Write down the number of coughs per day before you start using HMEs (Day 0). Then, write down the number of coughs after using the HME on days 7, 14, 21 and 28. Your coughing should diminish. If it does not, consult your clinician.
HME Quick Facts
- HMEs are single-use devices – use each one time and dispose of it.
- An HME should not be used longer than 24 hours and is not reusable. Change your HME if it becomes clogged with mucus.
- Do not rinse the HME in water or any other solution as this will substantially reduce the function and can increase the risk of infections due to bacteria growth.
- HMEs also help keep larger particles out of your lungs, such as insects or crumbs from eating.