After being diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, battling the symptoms can often feel as though it’s taking over your life. It’s like going on a blind date with someone who insists on ordering two appetizers, the main course, dessert and wine to go with each course. After the date, though, when you wake up without any sleep apnea symptoms, you’ll immediately realize that CPAP is the one you want to settle down with. And just like any marriage, maintenance is imperative. Here is a guide to keeping your CPAP equipment fresh, clean and new.
Replace Your CPAP Mask Cushion or Nasal Pillows
If you have a nasal mask or full face mask, it is recommended to replace your cushion or seal every one to three months. If you use a nasal pillows mask, it is advised to replace your nasal pillows every month. This is important because CPAP mask cushions and nasal pillows are made out of a medical grade silicone that will slowly start to degrade. Eventually, you will start to notice that the mask doesn’t feel as snug or fit. You may also notice that the mask is slipping around or causing irritation. In order to avoid this unpleasant situation, you want to have back up cushions and nasal pillows on the ready.
Sanitation Is A Number One Priority
CPAP equipment can get pretty gross – after a few nights of use, your mask, hose, and other equipment are teaming with bacteria. Plus, anything with moisture or water can start to show signs of mold growth. This is exactly why sanitation is so important. It is also the reason why replacing your CPAP equipment when necessary is so critical. One Harvard study showed that after six months, CPAP equipment was so full of bacteria, that no amount of vigorous washing could remove the germs. It’s kind of like replacing your toothbrush after the recommended three months. And if you want a more effective and comprehensive way to clean your CPAP system, you could use the SoClean 2, which removes a striking 99.9% of bacteria, viruses and mold. This amazing cleaning system doesn’t require water or harmful chemicals – it uses activated oxygen to destroy germs – so you don’t have to worry about putting in a lot of effort or waiting for equipment to dry; the entire process is automated.
Save Money By Maintaining The Lifespan of Your Mask Frame
Your mask frame is relatively expensive – you may even need to plunk down a hundred bucks just for a new one. This is another reason why replacing the cushion and nasal pillows is so important – it will keep your mask frame in optimal condition. This is also a reason why you want to clean and sanitize your mask frame. If your CPAP mask has a proper seal and there isn’t as much condensation building up, your frame could last up to six months. After that time, though, it may be time to invest in a new frame, because even CPAP mask frames need to be replaced eventually.
The truth is, making sure your CPAP equipment is fresh, clean and new requires replacing parts that need to be regularly updated, and maintaining proper sanitation. Not only is maintenance important for the sake of keeping your system looking fresh, but it is also important for the sake of making sure your CPAP system feels fresh. The cleaner and more comfortable your CPAP supplies and equipment, the more committed you will be to treatment. In the end, your relationship to CPAP may not be a match made in heaven, but you’ll tough it out if you want to keep those sleep apnea symptoms at bay.