Frequently Asked Questions
Common CPAP Challenges
This could be caused by a number of reasons, from needing to adjust your straps to have the wrong size mask. Here are a few things to try to make your mask more comfortable:
- Readjust headgear straps. The mask should be as loose as it can be, while still creating a seal.
- Inspect mask for cracks or stiffness. If your mask shows significant signs of wear and tear or is broken at any point, you should replace it immediately. A cracked mask cannot form a proper seal.
- If you wear dentures, you may need to wear them while using your CPAP.
- Make sure the tubing isn’t dragging on your mask. Try supporting your tubing above your head, such as draping it over the headboard.
- For some people, facial hair can cause minor leaks. Consider a trim if the leak is on or around your mustache.
- If you don’t already, try washing your face before you go to bed. Some people find the oils on their skin prevent the mask from forming a good seal that will prevent leaks.
- Consider a different mask size if none of these options is solving the problem. You may need to be refit for a new mask.
Your strap may be too loose, or too tight. Try adjusting your mask and headgear until the air flow is more comfortable.
This typically happens when the mask, cushion, or straps have become overly worn. Inspect your mask and other supplies for stiffness, cracks, or breaks and discoloration. Consider replacing your mask if it is showing signs of wear and tear.
Your mask is probably dirty. Even if your mask doesn’t appear visibly dirty, it can harbor dirt and bacteria that can cause these types of issues. Wash your mask daily, and wash your face each night before you go to bed. Some people find this simple step can also help the mask create a better seal on their face. Most importantly, replace your mask regularly to prevent these types of hygienic issues. Masks stay on your face for many hours each day, directing your airflow. They are built with the optimum materials for comfort and effectiveness, and are then used repeatedly in this very intimate manner. These materials are only expected to last around 90 days.
Your strap is probably too loose or too tight. Readjust your headgear. If this doesn’t help, you may require a different mask or headgear size or style. You may also want to apply skin protection.
This is not a normal side effect of CPAP use. You should contact your physician.
Sounds like the air you are breathing is too dry. You should add heated humidification to your CPAP machine, or increase the humidification level if you are already using one.
Heated humidification was developed to condition the air you breathe as you sleep, adding humidity and increasing air temperature. The force of air from your CPAP machine can be difficult to adjust to, particularly as it removes moisture from the nasal cavity. It interferes with your nose doing its normal job of warming, humidifying, and filtering the air.
Heated humidification helps perform these functions, and is proven to help patients become more comfortable with sleep therapy and improve CPAP compliance.
Always take your PAP machine with you when you travel. Even if you’re only gone for a few days, your PAP machine will help you enjoy your trip even more by giving you the restful sleep you need.
CPAP machines are allowed through Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security once they’ve been screened by an X-ray. If the X-ray cannot see through all parts of the machine, additional screening may be necessary. Here are some tips to help you through it:
- Take your machine in a carry-on bag. If you place it in a checked bag and the bag is misplaced, you’ll have to go without your PAP therapy.
- Let a security officer know of your machine and any special requirements before the screening process begins.
- Your PAP machine will have to be removed from the carrying case, so we recommend putting it in a clear plastic bag to keep it clean. Facemasks and tubing can remain in the case.
- If your machine requires additional screening, request that security wears gloves to be sanitary.
For more information on TSA policies, refer to their website at www.tsa.gov or click here.