A CPAP machine, CPAP standing for “continuous positive airway pressure,” is one of the most effective solutions available today for those suffering from sleep apnea. By providing a constant stream of air directly to the breathing passages, a CPAP machine ensures that the individual receives a constant flow of air through the CPAP mask, thereby keeping the individual from suddenly not breathing while asleep.
While CPAP machines definitely aren’t for everyone, and they take some getting used to, there are a few simple things that can affect the comfort and effectiveness of your machine — and luckily, these small details are fairly easy to fix (or even prevent). Here are just a few tips about how to avoid the most common mistakes that CPAP mask users make:
- Make sure that the mask fits properly, right from the start. It’s important that you work closely with your doctor and with the CPAP mask supplier to make sure that you purchase a mask that fits over your nose and mouth comfortably. The size and shape of CPAP masks will vary, and these two factors will influence how comfortable the mask feels.
- Another set of problems is likely to occur especially when you start using a CPAP mask for the first time: feeling the physical effects of having air constantly blown on your face, which may include a dry or stuffy nose, irritation and dryness of the eyes, and skin irritation. The best way to deal with a dry nose is to put a humidifier in your room or ask your doctor about hydrating nasal sprays; you may find that this is especially an issue during the winter, when the air is already very dry.
- When irritation occurs in the eyes or skin, it’s likely due to an ill-fitting mask. Air will be more likely to leak out of a mask that isn’t fitted tight enough, and can blow into your eyes; a mask that’s too tight may cause pressure sores or irritation with continued use. Try adjusting the pads on the mask itself, or talk to your doctor ASAP about getting a different mask or looking into other options for treating your sleep apnea.
CPAP machines definitely take some time to get used to, so it’s important that you don’t get frustrated and give up after a few days. And of course, if you have any concerns or questions, never hesitate to contact your doctor or the CPAP mask supplier for more information.