Humidification is the process of adding warmed humidified air to the air administered through your masking system. Humidification will lessen the chances of experiencing the sensation of an uncomfortably dry mouth and throat as a result of using your CPAP therapy. If you are using humidification, you should attempt to keep your room as warm as possible and insulate your delivery tube as much as possible, as this will prevent the chance of you experiencing rainout problems (as explained below).
The use of humidification can result in condensation collecting in your delivery tube and mask, “rainout” . The result of rainout is that you may experience water droplets falling onto your face or noise from the delivery tube as the air attempts to force its way past the buildup of water. To minimise the problem of rainout, position your CPAP machine low to the ground such that the buildup of water drains back into the humidifier chamber.
The use of heated breathing tubing can also assist with this issue.
The top straps of your headgear are to keep your mask in place and shouldn’t be too tight as to leave marks on your face. These straps should be comfortable on your face as to stop the mask moving during your sleep. The bottom straps should be adjusted to stop any mask leakage, if you find after your mask fitting with your CPAP Consultant that during the night you are experiencing leakage, tighten the bottom straps. If you experience air escaping from your mask into your eyes adjust the mask forearm to eliminate the leak.
NOTE: If you wear glasses, you will have indentations on the bridge of your nose and you can experience air leakage through these indentations. Your mask may need to be placed below or above these indentations to avoid any air leakage.
NOTE: False teeth must be worn during the night while wearing your CPAP mask as your teeth give shape to your mouth area. If you don’t wear your dentures you may experience mask leakage.
Removing Mask While Sleeping
It is quite common early on in your therapy to remove your mask unknowingly during your sleep. If this happens you must put your mask back on when you become aware of removing it. This happens because you are not use to wearing a mask; you can try wearing your mask for short periods during the day to become accustomed to having a mask on.
You can experience stomach bloating, wind pain or passing wind when you start your therapy. This occurs usually because you are swallowing air, it will usually settle down in time. The use of a chin-strap can assist with this problem.
Air Escaping From Mask Expiratory Ports
Every mask has expiratory ports as the air you breathe out needs to escape from the mask. You should be aware of the position of the expiratory so you don’t mistake it for a mask leak.
Sore Nasal Passages
Your nasal passages can become sore while on CPAP therapy especially if you are using a nasal pillow masking system. Apart from humidification you can also use a product called Nozoil; it is used for temporary relief of dry and crusting nasal tissue. Commonly used for oxygen and CPAP users it is Vitamin E based oil. Upon on opening it has a 9-month shelf life.
Mask and Part Replacement
Your mask cushion and headgear should be replaced every 6 months. Use beyond this time may result in you experiencing problems relating to mask leaks. You should avoid adjusting your headgear straps tighter in an attempt to address these mask leaks.
If you continue to have any problems or concerns with your ongoing CPAP treatment please contact your local CPAP Therapy Consultant.