Patients often wonder if they really need a CPAP humidifier, or if they’ll be fine without it, but in reality they relieve a lot of discomforts. While some new CPAP users are perfectly fine without one, others immediately find relief and their treatment becomes more effective.
What is a CPAP Humidifier?
Sometimes you can get a CPAP machine with a humidifier or you can get a humidifier attachment for existing machine. They work by adding moisture to the air and to give you the ability to control its humidity.
CPAP humidifiers are small devices that are easy to use. You can easily adjust the CPAP humidifier settings with the turn or a dial or touch of a button to add more or less moisture to the air to fit your personal needs. People usually use more heat during the winter when running the heater dries out the bedroom air.
Issues Solved By CPAP Humidification
Sometimes when people use their CPAP the lining in their nose can become irritated by the forced air coming through the tubing, which can lead to:
- Nose irritation, swelling, or burning
- Dry mouth
- Stuffiness and mucus
However simply humidifying the air can relieve all of these issues.
CPAP machines with humidifiers also help to relieve:
Note: When congested consider switching to a full face mask to adequately inhale air through your mouth. If you’re stuffy, a CPAP nasal mask will become blocked and you won't be able to pull in the air you need for quality rest.
Types of CPAP humidifiers
There are a few different types of CPAP humidifiers depending on the type of machine you have and to suit your individual needs.
Integrated Humidifier - A integrated humidifier is a humidifier built for a specific CPAP machine that can easily be attached. The humidifier is easy to remove for cleaning, travel, or other purposes.
Built-In Humidifier - If your CPAP has a humidifier that’s built into it, then you have a built-in humidifier. The CPAP humidifier chamber can be removed for clean but the unit remains attached. This is a space-saving option as external humidifiers are often larger.
Stand Alone Humidifier - A stand alone humidifier is a humidifier that works with most CPAPS, whereas integrated CPAPs are made for specific machines and can’t attach to a CPAP with a built-in humidifier or water chamber. Stand-alone humidifiers have their own power cords and a tube to connect to your CPAP machine.
Heated Humidifier - A heated humidifier uses heat to warm moisture to the air. Other humidifiers add moisture to the air, but its temperature depends on the ambient temperature of the water in the chamber and the air.
Passover Humidifier - Or a cool humidifier works by sending air over the water chamber to add moisture. The water is room temperature and is not heated. This type of humidifier is often larger than a heated humidifier.
CPAP Humidifier Cleaning
You need to clean your CPAP humidifier daily. This is done by carefully detaching the CPAP humidifier chamber to wash it with warm soapy water on a daily basis. Then make sure it has enough time to fully air dry. Some CPAP humidifiers are dishwasher safe, so refer to your manual.
Once a week the humidifier should be soaked in a solution of 3 parts water and 1 part vinegar for about 20 minutes, then thoroughly rinse it and allow it to fully dry.
Wait, vinegar, wash daily? Who has time for that? Instead of hand washing your CPAP supplies place them in a SoClean to be instantly sanitized.
Note: The CPAP humidifier water should be changed daily as well. Only fill it with distilled water to avoid the build-up of harmful minerals. Never use tap water.
CPAP Humidifier Hacks
Preventing CPAP Rainout - If the air in your room is colder than the air in your CPAP tubing then condensation could build up to cause quite the splash! If you noticed water collecting in your tubing or mask, simply adjust your CPAP humidity level.
Getting Used To Your Device - It can be tricky to get used to your CPAP treatment at first and humidity adds a whole new level. You may have to test a few different settings to find your perfect humidity level and it may need to change it with fluctuating temperatures during the seasons. You can always contact your doctor for advice about what settings you should use.
Is A CPAP Humidifier Right For You?
It very well could be. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, get sick often, experience dryness with your CPAP treatment, and more then you should definitely consider purchasing one! They provide almost instant relief for optimal comfort and compliance so you can sleep better.