You will have a small amount of mucus around the tube. This is normal. The hole in your neck should be pink and painless.
It is important to keep the tube free of thick mucus. You should always carry an extra tube with you in case your tube gets plugged. Once you put in the new tube, clean the old one and keep it with you as your extra tube.
When you cough, have a tissue or cloth ready to catch the mucus coming from your tube.
Your nose will no longer keep the air you breathe moist. Talk with your provider about how to keep the air you breathe moist and how to prevent plugs in your tube.
Some common ways to keep the air you breathe moist are:
- Putting a wet gauze or cloth over the outside of your tube. Keep it moist.
- Using a humidifier in your home when the heater is on and the air is dry.
A few drops of salt water (saline) will loosen a plug of thick mucus. Put a few drops in your tube and windpipe, then take a deep breath and cough to help bring up the mucus.
Protect the hole in your neck with a cloth or tracheostomy cover when you go outside. These covers can also help keep your clothes clean from mucus and make your breathing sounds quieter.
DO NOT breathe in water, food, powder, or dust. When you take a shower, cover the hole with a tracheostomy cover. You will not be able to go swimming.
To speak, you will need to cover the hole with your finger, a cap, or a speaking valve.
Sometimes you can cap the tube. Then you might be able to speak normally and breathe through your nose and mouth.