Caring for CPAP Machines

CPAP machines are the best known treatment for sleep apnoea. The devices are mains powered units which create a flow of uninterrupted, pressurised air which is passed from the unit to through a length of plastic tubing and into the patient’s windpipe through a nasal mask or a face mask. The flow of air prevents the windpipe from becoming blocked by obstructions because its high pressure holds open the windpipe, keeping air flowing and allowing the patient to breathe normally. chin straps for cpap

CPAP machines are not without fault and many patients report finding them uncomfortable, noisy and difficult to get accustomed to but they do work. They are the treatment that doctors turn to in cases of severe sleep apnoea when lifestyle changes such as weight loss don’t improve the situation.

The devices should be prescribed by a doctor, who will calculate the appropriate pressure through a sleep study. The manufacturer will then supply the device, tuned to provide air at that pressure. The machine needs to be cleaned thoroughly and regularly to prevent dust getting into it and being inhaled, irritating the throat and nasal passages and potentially making the patient ill.

The mask, nasal pillows and tubing should be cleaned each and every day. This is simply done by immersing them in warm soapy water and rinsing them thoroughly. They should then be allowed to dry completely before being replacing on the CPAP machines. It’s a good idea to get into the habit of cleaning these parts first thing in the morning so they are ready to use again at night time.

The machine unit itself should also be cleaned each week by wiping it over with a warm damp cloth. Make sure that it is not connected to the mains when you do this. The filter at the back of the machine should be thoroughly cleaned each week too. It needs to be immersed in cool tap water until the dust is removed. The filter must be replaced at least once a year.

Many modern CPAP machines now feature humidifiers to prevent sore throats and nose bleeds. If your model has a humidifier it needs to be carefully cleaned each week with warm water. A weak mixture of vinegar and water may also be used to disinfect the humidifier, as it offers the perfect warm, moist environment for bacteria to grow in.


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