Congestion and Your CPAP Mask

By | March 12, 2016

How Do You Breathe With A CPAP Mask If You’re Congested?

So I was having dinner with my brother-in-law last night and we were talking about our CPAP machines and how both of us were doing with them. I mentioned to him that I had a bit of a cold and was somewhat congested. I told him that I didn’t have a very good sleep the previous night because I was congested, almost to the point of feeling claustrophobic with my CPAP mask on. He told me that he has felt the same way in previous instances whenever he was battling a cold.

Wearing a Breathe Right Nasal Strip Opens the Air Passages into the NostrilsThen he suggested something to me that made perfect sense, but it was something I had never considered before, given that it was the first time I had been sick while wearing my CPAP mask. He suggested wearing one of those Breathe Right Nasal Strips underneath your CPAP mask. They help to open the air passages of the nose, which would then allow the CPAP mask to work properly. The underside of the nasal strip is adhesive so that once they are positioned on the nose, they stay there. However, bear in mind that each strip can only be used once.

I’ll be honest, I’ve never tried them before. My brother-in-law said that he has had a lot of success with them. I respect his opinion, so I’ll have to give them a try. Apparently, they are also supposed to help with snoring, but given that I wear a CPAP mask, snoring is no longer an issue for me.

I’m including a few links for nasal strips below. You can get them in one size fits all, small, medium, or large sizes. They also come in clear or tan colored. Breathe Right nasal strips help to reduce or eliminate snoring. They also provide relief from congestion due to colds, allergies or sinusitis. They have patented duel flex bars that, when attached, gently pull the nasal passages open to allow you to get more air, and they are drug free.

Breathe Right Extra Strong Nasal Strips
Breathe Right Extra Strong Nasal Strips One Size Fits All, Tan (44 ct)

 


Breathe Right Nasal Strips, Extra Clear
Breathe Right Nasal Strips, Extra Clear for Sensitive Skin, 44 Clear Strips

 


Breathe Right Nasal Strips
Breathe Right Nasal Strips, Extra, 26-Count Box

 

 


Breathe Right Nasal Strips
Breathe Right Nasal Strips, Small/Medium, Clear, 30 Count

 

 

Please drop me a line and share your experiences, good or bad, using some form of nasal strips. I would love to hear from you and whether you think they work or not!

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8 thoughts on “Congestion and Your CPAP Mask

  1. NursePam

    I would like to add an option to sleep apnea sufferers. I myself use an oral appliance and it has pros and cons as does any of the available treatments for sleep apnea. I use the SomnoDent oral appliance that is molded specific to my mouth and fits extremely snug to my teeth. Mind you I tried the CPAP however I am a belly sleeper and I just could not keep the mask on. So before the oral appliance I was having an average of 21 events an hour where I’d stop breathing. After wearing the appliance and being retested, I now average only 7 events per hour where I stop breathing. Although it is a big decrease… I still have sleep apnea every hour. The doctor has my appliance adjusted as far as it can go without messing up my jaw. So that is a bad thing. The other thing to consider in oral appliances for sleep apnea is… the cost around $3,000 and some insurance companies pay for most of it…. however… and dental work that changes the teeth in the slightest way, such as fillings, caps, crowns, extractions, etc… it can cause the appliance not to fit any longer. That is a problem because it will cost a lot of money to purchase another oral appliance. A good thing about the oral appliance is the fact there is nothing on the external side of your face. No tubing or mask. Much more comfortable to sleep. Much quieter too as there is no machine humming at your bedside. I grind my teeth which causes me personally yet another issue. I wear ear plugs to bed because hubby snores like a hibernating bear. The ear plugs make my teeth grinding so loud it wakes me up when the plastic grinds back and forth against upper and lower plate.
    One last thing… it can really worsen your TMJ (temporal mandibular joints). The doctor says that it actually helps some patients TMJ disorder. Anyways… consider these things when considering an oral appliance.

    Reply
    1. Shawn

      Hi Pam,
      Thanks for your detailed feedback! I personally tried an oral device that was molded specifically to my mouth, but according to my wife, it didn’t prevent me from snoring. I also felt uncomfortable having this mouthguard in all night because when I woke up in the morning, my jaw hurt. I’m not sure if I was biting down on too much. I too was a belly sleeper, but I’ve learned to sleep on my side. I will on occasion still sleep on my stomach, I just have to prop the pillow up, otherwise my CPAP mask slides a bit.
      Thanks again for your very informative comments!
      Regards,
      Shawn

      Reply
  2. Sarah

    Thanks for this great post! I’m going to share the info with my mom who wears a CPAP and has had a few problems while congested.
    Great info!

    Reply
    1. Shawn

      Hi Sarah,
      I hope this info helps your mom! I know it’s helped my brother-in-law.
      Good luck!
      Shawn

      Reply
    1. Shawn

      Thank you for the comment Rolf! I know that my brother-in-law finds the nasal strips very useful when he is congested. I haven’t been congested recently, but I’ll definitely give them a try when the time comes. Hopefully, they will work for me as well.
      Regards,
      Shawn

      Reply
  3. Robin Fulton

    My husband has a c pap and one thing I would recommend is that you do an extra cleaning and change your fittings and tubes if you have a cold so that you don’t keep reinfecting yourself. My husband has tubes that connect the oxygen to the c pap and those tubes and the mask need cleaning often.

    Reply
    1. Shawn Post author

      Hi Robin,
      Thanks for the comment and the suggestion. I was told by my sleep specialist that the mask and the hose should be cleaned at least once a week. One of the things to use on the mask is almost like a baby wipe. Use that to wipe the inside of the mask. Then there is an elongated tube that you purchase and insert into the hose to clean it. Then run lukewarm water in the hose and let it dry during the day. Hopefully, this will prevent you from re-infecting yourself and prolonging your cold. Thanks for the advice.
      Regards,
      Shawn

      Reply

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