Sleep apnea is a serious sleeping disorder that impacts millions of people. During the night, people who suffer from it will experience “apneas” or times when they stop breathing. This can be for several seconds or last for up to a minute or more. Serious sleep apnea sufferers will experience as many as 100 apneas each night. By depriving the brain of oxygen, sleep apnea can lead to some serious medical problems such as heart disease or an increased risk of having a stroke. There is one piece of home medical equipment that many people use is the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. These force air into the lungs and keep the airway open.
The main problem with this kind of home medical equipment is that it takes some work to get used to wearing the CPAP mask and getting used to the pressurized air. There are some things you can do to get used to the CPAP machine and get the most benefit from your machine. Here are some things you can do to make the experience better:
- Clean your CPAP mask and cushion every day. Your CPAP mask can be the perfect area for mold and bacteria to grown and thrive. By cleaning your mask’s cushion every day, you can reduce the amount of infection you will experience. Make sure you rinse everything well.
- Clean the rest of the CPAP supplies every few days. There are a lot of parts of your CPAP machine that can get dirty and become the breeding ground for bacteria and mold. Most home medical equipment come with instructions from the manufacturer, you should pay close attention to these.
- Use gentle cleaning products on your CPAP machine. You should never use harsh cleaners on your home medical equipment. You can talk to the people at the local medical supply store about what they would recommend you use to clean your CPAP machine but products that have lanolin in them. A solution of white vinegar and water can be used as well as Woolite. You should carefully rinse the equipment to get rid of any smell from the cleaning products.
- Make sure you thoroughly clean the tubing on your CPAP machine. This needs to be washed on a daily basis to keep mold and bacteria growth at an absolute minimum. This part of your home medical equipment needs to be replaced once every month so keep the system healthy for you to use.
- Keep an eye on your home medical equipment to prevent mold growth. If your cushion does get mold growth, the only thing you can do to get rid of it is get a new cushion. Preventing mold growth is therefore the best thing you can do to keep your CPAP machine safe and good to use. There are thousands of kinds of mold that have been identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and they are all bad for human health so keeping your CPAP machine mold free is very important to your health and well being.
- Pay attention to your filters. CPAP machines use disposable filters that need to be replaced at least once every 30 days. Most of the time, insurance policies and Medicare will pay to have these filters changed out every two weeks. The cleaner the system is, the easier and healthier it will be to use. If you have non-disposable filters, you need to wash them at least once a week and changed out twice a year.
- Get a new CPAP mask cushion every 30 days. Changing out the nasal pillows on a regular basis is a good way to keep the CPAP system hygienic and clean. It can also keep you from suffering from respiratory infections and experiencing other problems.
- Change out the tubing, mask and filters regularly. You need to do this more often if you start to have more respiratory infections and other similar problems. At the very least, this needs to be done every 90 days to keep everything healthy and clean.
Using a CPAP machine is truly the gold standard when it comes to treatment for sleep apnea. You get no benefit from the machine if you do not use it.