Posted by Bethaney Wallace on 20th Apr 2016
CPAP therapy – standing for continuous positive airway pressure – is a breathing method that helps all types of Americans sleep. Those suffering from sleep apnea, along with other sleep-related conditions, benefit from the therapy by using a mask that pushes air through the nose and into the lungs. Generally, this most often helps by ensuring that the body is breathing the entire time one is sleeping. For instance, with sleep apnea, the body stops its breath several times throughout the night. The sleeper soon wakes and regains their breath, most often unaware that the event even took place. However, with CPAP therapy, air is force through passages, preventing this from taking place at all.
CPAP is administered through a plastic mask. Users wear the device, which pushes air up into their nasal passages and sits around the mouth to keep breathing air steadily in place. This also means the mask seals around one's face for maximum efficiency. There are also device variations that only adhere to the nose, which is most common in travel versions of CPAP machines.
In order to help CPAP therapy work like it should, it's recommended for users to clean their masks after every single use. Which can be every day for regular users, or simply each time it's actually put into effect.
When worn, dirt and grim collect on the plastic surface, which affects how well its able to seal against the face. (Without a proper seal, masks can leak air (both stagnant air can get in and forced air can push out), and therefore, won't work as well as they should.) Dirty masks can also cause irritation against the skin, even encouraging breakouts or rashes. Over time, this gunk can build upon itself and become even harder to clean, while making it more and more difficult for air to push through.
Therefore, a mask that isn't cleaned won't work as well as it should. And it can even cause some unnecessary side effects, like skin irritation, in the process.
In addition, headgear should also be washed on a weekly basis. This is the section of one's gear that helps hold the mask onto the face. This frequency will help ensure that the overall device is clean and working properly.
Face masks can easily be cleaned with wipes. These wipes can be used one at a time and help remove grime, while disinfecting the entire plastic area. Simply disassemble, wipe down, and store in a safe place for its next use. It's also a good idea to thoroughly clean your mask on a semi-frequent basis to prevent any heavy build up from taking place, especially in areas that are hard to clean, or aren't immediately visible during your daily cleaning routine.
You can also clean your mask in a sink with warm water and a gentle soap. Be sure to choose a soap that's safe for your specific type of mask. With this method, it is important to let all sections dry before putting back together, which will help you avoid trapping moisture within the tubes. (Even though air flows once the machine is turned on, water can get trapped when it's not in use.) And in either scenario, you should be sure to read mask specifics; devices differ and you want to ensure you're using safe cleaning methods for a CPAP mask that's efficient and working as best as it possibly can.
For the best possible outcome against your sleep apnea (or outside sleeping disorder), consider a regular CPAP mask cleaning routine.
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