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Spring Forward. Check Your CPAP Health.

As you prepare to set your clocks forward one hour this coming Sunday March 13th, we want to remind you that now is the perfect time to check your CPAP arsenal for supplies, damage, splitting, and general cleanliness.

Inspect your CPAP Mask, headgear, and cushions

  • Do you see any noticeable cracks in the frame of the mask?
    Cracks cause leaks, and the last thing we want is a whistling mask. Remember that CPAP masks do not last forever.  We recommend swapping out the entire mask every six to eight months.
  • Is the cushion discolored or flimsy?
    Flimsy cushions are a sign of breakdown.  You should consider replacing the cushion if discoloration has occurred, it has lost its elasticity, or shows any signs of splitting or cracking. Cushions should be replaced every three months.
  • Are pieces missing?
    Visually inspect the mask frame, forehead supports, cushions or pillows, clips, headgear, elbows, dials, etc.  If any parts are missing, consider replacing them.  If too many parts are missing or broken, you may consider replacing the whole mask.
  • Check your headgear.
    The headgear of your mask should still have its elasticity, and should be free of discoloration, smells, or dirt and grime.  Remember, this goes on your head and face every night, consider getting a new headgear every six months.

Inspect your CPAP machine, filters, water chamber, and tubing

  • Is your tubing free of holes and healthy?
    With your CPAP machine on and blowing air, cover the end of the tubing and block the airflow.  If you hear any air escaping, or whistling, your tubing may have a hole in it.  Tubing that has not been cleaned regularly can have a build-up of bacteria.  Remember that your tubing is exposed to warm moist air every night.  Its the perfect breeding ground for those little germs that can cause illness. Check your tubing for flexibility, strength, cleanliness, and holes.  Tubing, on average, should be replaced every six months, whether it looks good or not.  This rule should also apply to slimline, premium, or ThermoSmart tubing.
  • Know your machine filters.
    Your CPAP machine may have two different filters.  A black foam filter traps dirt and pollen, while the white fine filter traps allergens and small micron particles.  The white filter is always optional, but we recommend always using the black filter.  Foam filters can be washed and reused, but should still be replaced regularly every 60 to 90 days.  White filters cannot be reused and should be replaced every 30-60 days.
  • How is the machine itself?
    Check the CPAP machine for signs of abuse or damage.  You can also detach your humidifier and look for signs of mold, dust, hair, or other dirt.  Clean it all out.  One last thing, you can use a water manometer (there are special ones to attach to CPAP tubing) to check the pressure of the machine and make sure your 8cm is still 8cm.
  • Clean out and sterilize your water chamber.
    Yes, there are some water chambers that can be cleaned in the dishwasher.  Check your manufacturer specs before doing so.  Clean your water chamber as best as possible with mild detergent or soap.  Get all the hard water stains cleaned up, and make sure there is no sign of buildup.  Your chamber should be crystal clear at all times, you are literally breathing anything in that chamber.  If you can't get it clean, replace it.  We recommend changing the chamber at least once per year, just to be safe.  To prevent future stains and build-up, always use distilled water in your chamber.


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November 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterryan

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