How to Continue Using CPAP When Having Nasal Congestion

Using a CPAP with a stuffy nose

Seasonal allergies, changes in climate, or common cold can cause difficulty breathing at night with CPAP. A less known cause of nasal congestion will affect some CPAP users, about 6 to 12 months after starting therapy. That raises the concern of how to use CPAP with nasal congestion. Rather than stopping CPAP therapy, consider using these tips to help you continue CPAP therapy regardless of the cause of nasal congestion or irritation.

Proper humidification of the CPAP machine

Most modern CPAP machines come with a heated humidifier. The humidifier gently adds moisture to the air that you breathe through the CPAP mask. That can reduce dryness that causes nasal irritation and congestion. Humidification of a CPAP is an excellent way to avoid a stuffy nose with CPAP machine. It is also one of the best-recommended approaches for comfort for most elderly patients, especially those in dry climates and anyone taking medication that causes dry airways.

Try heated tubing for extra heat and humidification

Some CPAP users will often say – my CPAP makes my nose stuffy! What they don’t understand is that a Heated CPAP tubing can keep the air warm as it travels from your heated humidifier via the tubing to the mask and into the airway. That ensures that you breathe in warm air and consequently avoid having a stuffy, congested, or blocked nose.

CPAP filtration can lessen or eliminate irritants in the air

Stuffy nose with CPAP machine

It is prudent to confirm that the CPAP filter is clean and replaced regularly to ensure that you do not experience CPAP infection symptoms. If you have a non-disposable filter, it is recommended that you wash it at least once a week with water. Allow it to dry completely before connecting it back to the CPAP machine.

Try a full face CPAP mask

If you are having a difficult time trying to breathe through your nose, you could try a full face CPAP mask. Many CPAP users often switch from pillows or nasal mask when having nasal congestion from a cold or allergies. A full-face mask will cover your mouth and nose.

Avoid eye irritation from mask leak

Proper mask fitting is essential. However, with every mask, there will still be a substantial air leak. It is recommendable to use thick artificial tears before bedtime (gels and ointments, less viscous teardrops). That minimizes the air leak and ensure that the air is not irritating your eyes. Many CPAP users may ask – does using a CPAP machine cause sinus problem? No! However, it is essential to consult a doctor once you notice that your CPAP machine is causing difficulties in breathing rather than being the remedy.

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