Winter is just around the corner and the weather is getting cooler. This means that many of us will start facing colds, flu, sinus infections, sore throats as special winter gifts. However, if you are using a CPAP device, winter can make your therapy quite uncomfortable. Winter comes with drier air, which alongside cold breathing can make your therapy quite bothersome.
In winter, about 40% of CPAP users have reported suffering from dry mouth. Dry mouth can trigger many medical issues, such as bad breath, sneezing, congestion, dizziness, headaches, nose bleeds, sinus infection, and inflammation among others. The lack of humidity in the winter air can make the nasal passages even drier, while not using CPAP while having a cold or flu can only make things worse.
The nose is responsible for warming and moistening the air we breathe. However, if the air is cold, the tiny blood vessels inside the nostrils dilate to help warm up the air. Consequently, this additional blood flow narrows the airway and triggers extra mucus production. So, it can cause nasal congestion and a runny nose.
So, we decided to list all the tips you should know to make CPAP therapy more comfortable in the winter.
Tips to Make CPAP Therapy More Comfortable in the Winter
Use a Full-Face Mask
If you use a nasal mask, you are probably aware of how difficult it is to breathe through your nose when there is nasal congestion. When you have a cold, dealing with nasal congestion is a common incidence. As a result, you start breathing through your mouth. However, when the air from your CPAP device escapes through your mouth, it might compromise the effectiveness of your therapy.
Mouth leaks trigger high airflow in one direction. Hence, they prevent the moist air of the lungs to pass back through the nose and causes dry nose or nasal congestion when you wake up. That’s why, using a full-face mask will be extremely beneficial for the cold weather, as well as when you experience a cold or an upper respiratory tract infection. Using a full-face CPAP mask will boost the effectiveness of your CPAP therapy and make the device more comfortable than ever during the cold winter months.
Heat the Bedroom
When using the CPAP mask in your bedroom, make sure you close the windows and heat the room. You should also place the tubing under the bedclothes. So, the heat from your body will increase the temperature of the air passing through it.
Continued Use When Sick
In the case of upper respiratory tract infections, colds and flu, you will notice that tolerating the CPAP device will be quite troublesome. So, instead of avoiding to use your CPAP during that time as it can make the symptoms worsen, you should try some simple remedies.
To make your CPAP therapy comfortable, you should use a saline nasal spray, decongestants or some over-the-counter sprays to decrease inflammation in the nasal passages. Note that these remedies are only recommended for short-term use. What’s more, you should never add any kind of decongestants to the water in your humidifier as it can damage your equipment.
One of the most effective methods of reversing the symptoms of cold air is using heated humidification with CPAP treatment. Heated humidification will warm and moisten the air before it reaches the nose. As a result, you will notice immediate nasal congestion relief and feel more comfortable to breathe.
Note that if using heated humidification, you might experience a rainout during the winter months. A rainout happens when the warmed moistened air coming from the humidifier is cooled by room air as it moves down the tube towards the mask and moisture in the cooler air returns to a liquid. Consequently, there are droplets of water or condensation in the tube and mask.
In order to prevent rainout from happening, you should:
- Place the CPAP device and the humidifier lower than the bed.
- Keep the tube warm by positioning it under the bedclothes.
- Close the bedroom window and keep the room warm to reduce the difference between the temperature in the room and the tube.
- Use a tubing wrap to insulate the hose.
Using your CPAP device continually is sometimes easier said than done. This is especially true for the winter months when staying compliant with your therapy can be quite challenging. However, by following these simple tips and focusing only on the benefits of the therapy, you’ll keep your health on the right track, no matter what time of the year it is.