Sleeping when you have a cold is hard enough, but when you have a cold and sleep apnea, sleeping with CPAP machines and CPAP masks can sometimes be downright impossible. CPAP masks require you to breathe through your nose as a part of the treatment for sleep apnea, but when your sinuses are stuffy, it’s incredibly difficult to breathe this way and can cause the wearer an unbelievable amount of discomfort. But despite the discomfort, sleep apnea sufferers must continue wearing their CPAP masks. Other cold symptoms, such as a sore throat, may worsen and prolong your illness. Here are a few steps you can take ease the discomfort of wearing CPAP masks when you’re dealing with sinus congestion.
1) One thing that sleeps apnea sufferers can do is bump up the pressure on their CPAP machines. CPAP machines are designed to start off at a low pressure and gradually increase as the night goes on. When the wearer has a cold, the low pressure is hard to feel and may cause them to feel as if they’re suffocating. By starting the machine off in a high-pressure setting, your congestion can be knocked out immediately.
2) Another thing that is beneficial is to use a saline nasal spray or another nasal cleaning agent to clear the sinuses and prepare them for a CPAP mask. Nasal sprays work to not only clear sinus passageways but relive nasal swelling and pressure as well.
3) Using a vaporizer can with CPAP machines can also help. You just set up the vaporizer and point it toward the air intake section on your machine. This works for some people because it warms up the air a bit and makes breathing more comfortable on the tender sinus passageways.
4) In addition to a vaporizer, a heated humidifier can also help bring warm, moist, soothing air to your sinuses. Frequent users of CPAP masks have reported nasal dryness and discomfort, but have found relief when the use of a humidifier.
5) Another great way to reduce sinus issues when you are using CPAP masks is to clean your mask. Sometimes just giving it a good clean can really ease sinus pressure and is beneficial in the long run. An easy way to clean your mask and hose is to soak it in warm water and baby shampoo for 15 to 20 minutes. You will then rinse it and let it dry thoroughly. To clean the humidifier, mix a little vinegar and water and let it soak in that for about 10 minutes, then you can take a mild soap and water and wash it with that.
6) A nasal rinse is also extremely beneficial to anyone suffering from sinus congestion. It cleans your passageways thoroughly and allows you to breathe easily and fall asleep faster, with your CPAP machines.
If you are experiencing frequent sinus issues when using your CPAP machines and CPAP masks, you should consult your physician and share your problems. It could be that your sinus problems are something more than just a common cold.