At RespShop, we like to give our customers CPAP tips and tricks of the trade as we get them. We get plenty of feedback from patients and CPAP experts and we’re confident that all of the information we glean can be passed along to help you with your therapy. If you use continuous positive airway pressure equipment, read on for a few ways that you can improve your therapeutic experience.
- Use Plenty of Humidification
Each humidifier offers you several heating options, allowing you to select just how much or little humidity you want. Our CPAP expert, Todd Ramsey RRT, recommends that you use as much humidity as possible. From a medical standpoint, “there’s no such thing as too much humidity,” Ramsey explains. “Humidity is very comfortable on the sinuses.”
Beyond the comfort factor, humidity can also help with a new user’s compliance. Because the humidifier will help users relax, it allows them to close their mouth easily and makes them less likely to yank their mask off in the middle of the night. It also allows patients to use a nasal mask instead of a full face design, which most users find preferable. Don’t forget that humidification also helps ward off some of the least desirable side effects of CPAP therapy, including dry mouth and a sore throat.
- Control Rainout
Humidifiers are great, but they can cause one problem for CPAP users: rainout. Rainout occurs when moisture from the humidifier collects in your breathing tube. Eventually, this water will force its way into your mask wake you up. To mitigate the effects of rainout, all you have to do is warm the tube. You can do this either by using a heated breathing tube – most standard tubes are made from corrugated plastic that should not be heated – or by putting a blanket over your tube. Either method will warm the tube and prevent condensation.
- Batteries with Travel Machines
CPAP batteries allow you to get on the road without having to worry about your sleep apnea. Batteries attach seamlessly to CPAP machines and can provide a whole night of therapy after charging for just a few hours. This is true for travel machines as well: these devices are designed specifically for the patient on the go, and as long as you charge them ahead of time, should provide you with hours of therapy while you’re away from home.
Keep in mind, you will need to have a power source for your batteries eventually. This might be the car, or it might be some other adapter. If you’re traveling internationally, be sure that your adapter is compatible with the wall outlets in the country you’re visiting.
- Keep Everything Clean
This one should be self-explanatory, but Ramsey says he’s seen more than his fair share of disgusting CPAP equipment. “I can hardly overemphasize the need to keep (your equipment) clean. It’s just so dirty out there.” This doesn’t only apply to obvious things like the water chamber or your breathing tube, but also to your mask and filters. Filters should be changed at the first sign of discoloration for optimal hygiene, and your mask should be washed daily. Ramsey notes that many users balk at having to clean their mask every day, but he offers these patients a simple suggestion: the shower. “All you really need is soap and water,” he says. “Just bring it into the shower and scrub it down. Quick and easy without any wasted time.”