No. 1. Try a CPAP Humidifier
When you have a cold, the air blown into your nostrils by your CPAP machine can be unbearable.
A heated humidifier helps relieve dryness and congestion by heating the water in your machine. Even without a cold, your CPAP therapy may be enhanced by using a heated humidifier. Many CPAP machines now come with a built-in humidifier. You can also use humidifiers that attach to your machine or a stand-alone humidifier in your room may provide relief.
No. 2. Use a Full-Face Mask
Using a nasal mask during a cold may be uncomfortable. Especially if your nose is blocked, you’re more likely to breathe through your mouth which will affect your CPAP therapy.
A full face mask allows you to breathe through either your nose or mouth and is more comfortable during a cold compared to a nasal mask or nasal pillows.
If you suffer from allergies or regular colds having the option of a full-face mask is worth the investment.
Important to know also when to replace your mask and this is generally 6 to 12 months and headgear just as often, there are 5 signs to tell when your CPAP mask needs replacing:
- Not feeling as refreshed as you would normally or your therapy results are decreasing;
- The mask’s seal, which covers your nose and mouth, is originally clear and strong however with regular use becomes discoloured and does not provide a sufficient seal.
- Waking up with a dry mouth sometimes can be a sign that your mask needs replacing as air leaks cause a fluctuation in the mask’s air pressure and your mouth opens to compensate.
- If the mask becomes loose, because of overtightening and the pressure may leave temporary grooves or irritation on your skin.
- If the elastic is torn, worn out or lost shape which occurs overtime due to sweating, movement, tightening and cleaning. Replace your mask.
No. 3. Change Your Sleeping Position
Raise your head with extra pillows or a wedge pillow will assist you greatly especially if you have postnasal drip that can build up and make your throat sore. If it’s comfortable to do so, try sleeping on your side if your nose is blocked.
Sinus pressure improves when your head is higher than your body.
No. 4. Try Decongestants or Nasal Sprays
Cold and flu tablets or nasal sprays can help keep your nasal passages clear.
There are lots of over the counter cold and flu tablets. Make sure your symptoms match what is listed on the box.
It’s best to ask your GP/pharmacist about the right medication to relieve your symptoms. Here at Des Lardner’s Organic we can also provide a range of products that may assist.
No. 5. Change Your Air Pressure
You may need additional air pressure as part of your CPAP therapy if you have a blocked nose.
An easy way to do this is to use an auto-adjusting CPAP machine.
Traditional CPAP machines blow a single flow of air whereas an auto CPAP machine uses algorithms to blow pressure at automatically regulated intervals.
Auto CPAP machines only blow the minimum pressure needed to keep your airway open while you sleep.
If you suffer from colds regularly or you have seasonal allergies it may be worth investing in an auto CPAP machine for a more comfortable night’s sleep.
You may be tempted to take a break from CPAP when you have a cold. The good news is that you don’t have to. Following these simple tips not only helps you endure your CPAP therapy with a cold, it will also help you recover more quickly. Remember to clean your CPAP machine thoroughly during and after your cold.
If you require assistance during this phase don’t hesitate to call Sleep Therapist, Julie Rees or Des Lardner, on ph: 03 53 827 766.