So you had a sleep study and your doctor prescribed a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine for you, so you may be wondering “What now?”
The machine you have been prescribed and set up with is going to help you improve your health by regulating your nocturnal blood oxygen level and helping you sleep more soundly through the night. Likely, you have spent many years battling symptoms like snoring, headache, poor sleep quality, restless legs, dry mouth, high blood pressure, weight gain…the list goes on and on. Your CPAP machine is going to play a very large role in your healthcare now, by relieving many of those symptoms and improving your sleep! But, if your machine and supplies are grimy or dirty, you are unlikely to look forward to using them, let alone adhering to using them nightly!
What is resupply and why is it important? At Breath of Life, we can set up a resupply courtesy call every 3 or 6 months, whichever you prefer. One of our respiratory service representatives will call to check on your experience with the equipment, assess the condition of your supplies and help you determine if you are eligible for resupply on the particular items you are needing, per your insurance.
Here are some helpful guidelines to aid you in deciding on the best time to replace items, and also the appropriate method to clean and care for them in between resupply shipments:
- Wipe daily with a damp (not wet!) cloth to remove dust and small particles from the outside of your machine. This will add to a pleasant bedtime atmosphere as well as help protect the delicate electronics inside the machine.
- This device is usually replaceable every five years.
This clear or transparent plastic chamber is a removable chamber within the humidifier itself, it should be emptied after every use. Allowing the water from the previous night’s therapy to stand in the chamber could lead to a buildup of minerals or bacteria.
- Once a week, swish the chamber in warm, mildly soapy water and rinse thoroughly; allow to air dry before next use.
- You may also disinfect the chamber every few weeks by allowing chamber to rest in a solution of 1 part vinegar to 5 parts water for 30 minutes. Rinse thoroughly and allow to air dry before next use.
- Look for chips, cracks, leaks and/or discoloration of the chamber. The presence of these may indicate time for replacement.
- Typically, these chambers are replaced once every six months.
This is the main interface that holds the cushion in proper position.
- The CPAP mask is very important as it holds the cushion in place over your nose or mouth and helps to keep the pressure in your airway, where it belongs, rather than your eyes or the pillow! If it gets cracked or broken, it will not do its job and you may not be willing to stick to your CPAP regimen.
- You may wipe this down with a soft cloth dampened with a bit of mild soapy water, rinse and air dry.
- The mask may be replaced once every 3 months.
This is the soft silicone part of the mask which comes in direct contact with your face.
- The cushion can collect skin oils, makeup, moisturizers, dirt and secretions and should be washed in warm, soapy water and rinsed well, daily. Allow to air dry out of direct sunlight.
- Look for tears, cracks, stiffening or opaque spots. If the cushion is torn or otherwise damaged, it will allow air to leak out and become uncomfortable, which will lessen the effectiveness of your treatment.
- The cushion should be replaced once a month.
This is usually a soft, stretchy neoprene fabric with straps and Velcro that hold your mask and cushion in place.
- You may wipe down your headgear with a germicidal wipe, made for this purpose, once daily or gently hand wash in warm soapy water, rinse and air dry, when visibly stained or soiled.
- The headgear may become stretched out or hard to tighten when it is getting close to needing to be replaced. The Velcro can become worn and not able to “stick.”
- You should replace your headgear once every six months.
There are two types:
- A disposable filter is usually a small, thin white rectangle that should never be washed or dampened. This filter is used to catch “fine” allergens, particles and smoke that the non-disposable filter can miss.
- These should be disposed of after use and replaced twice a month.
- A non-disposable filter is a grey foam filter used to remove large dust particles and pet hair and dander from the air inlet on the back of your machine. This can be washed once a week in mild soapy water, rinsed and completely air dried before replacing.
- These should be washed and reused regularly, with replacement once every six months.
The tubing is soft and flexible with coils to help avoid it twisting up as you sleep. It is designed to deliver your prescribed pressure(s) from the machine to the mask, directing it to your upper airway.
- Tubing can be washed by submerging in a sink of mild soapy water and rinsed well. Many people find hanging the tubing from the shower head or over the curtain rod in the bathroom best for drying.
- Holes or tears, especially around the coils may indicate a need for replacement.
- Tubing should be replaced once every six months.
Note: Cleaning of heated tubing, please use the manufacturer’s guidelines for your specific product.
Hopefully these tips have been helpful to you! If you are needing resupply or have questions on any of the above items, please call us at (817)686-1111 or visit our website to chat with live operators for more info.