Q — When I have a head cold or sinus infection, wearing the CPAP system is too uncomfortable. Sometimes I may go for days without it. What can I do when this happens?
For an actual sinus infection, it is important to contact your physician for treatment, potentially with antibiotics. A cold virus will probably last seven to 10 days; but temporary use of nasal decongestants, nasal steroids, or an adjustment in humidity levels may provide symptomatic relief.
During those times, you may find that you can tolerate CPAP by changing to a full-face mask and breathing through your mouth. Heated humidity will make it more tolerable, so be sure that your humidifier chamber is full before you go to bed. Washing your mask, bore tubing, and humidifier chamber with non-degreaser type liquid dish detergent and disinfecting them on a regular basis will help to avoid recontamination.
Q — The air that the machine is providing is irritable because it is hot and dry. I am
using a humidifier but this still happens. What can reduce this discomfort?
If the machine is providing hot and dry air, check to make sure the unit is functioning properly and that air intake filters are not obstructed or dirty. It might be appropriate to change your humidifier settings to a lower temperature or switch to cool humidity, but only if that is more comfortable.
In addition to checking the filters and proper function of your equipment, confirm that the heat setting for your humidifier is at its usual setting and that the chamber has an adequate water supply.
Q — My nose continually runs when I am wearingthe bi-level PAP.
Some users of PAP do have a reflex rhinorrhea for the first few weeks of therapy. If the runny nose remains, the use of heated humidity, nasal decongestants, or nasal steroids may be necessary.
The nose has a tendency to respond when there isn't enough humidity with your prescribed pressure. Increase your heater setting and be sure that you have an adequate water supply in your water chamber. If you notice droplets in your mask and/or tubing, it may be necessary to insulate your hose with a light-weight towel.