3 Tips To Properly Care For Your CPAP Humidifier

Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that can take a toll on your health. Most patients with diagnosed sleep apnea are given a CPAP machine to help them breathe regularly throughout the night.

You may find that using a CPAP machine can lead to irritation of your airways. Adding a humidifier to the machine can be beneficial in reducing dryness and making your CPAP more comfortable.

If you are planning to invest in a CPAP humidifier, you need to be prepared to care for this component properly to prevent potential complications.

1. Avoid Additives in the Water Tub

The moisture that is delivered by your CPAP humidifier is generated from the water that you place into a specialized water tub. You may be tempted to add some essential oils, water softeners, or antibacterial agents to the water.

Many people think that these substances will enhance the quality of their CPAP experience. However, the moisture created by the humidifier will be inhaled directly into your lungs. It's important that you prevent any additives from getting into the water supply, as foreign substances could expose your lungs to potentially harmful chemicals over time.

2. Only Use Distilled Water

The companies that manufacture CPAP humidifiers recommend that only distilled water be used to fill the water tub, and for good reason. The quality of your tap water may seem high, but most municipal or well water sources contain trace minerals. These minerals are perfectly safe to consume, but they can wreak havoc on your CPAP humidifier.

As the water in the humidifier's tub evaporates and is inhaled, the trace minerals are left behind. Trace minerals are very abrasive. They have the potential to damage the plastic tubing in your CPAP machine.

Mineral buildup can also prevent air from moving through the CPAP machine efficiently, reducing the health benefits that you receive from wearing a CPAP machine nightly. CPAP distilled water is free from contaminants, so it will not damage your CPAP machine.

3. Clean Your CPAP Machine Regularly

Adding a humidifier to your CPAP machine can create a breeding ground for bacteria. The moisture provided by the humidifier can promote bacterial growth, so you will need to clean your CPAP machine regularly to avoid being exposed to any bacteria during the night.

Use warm, soapy water to scrub out the water tub, then allow the tub to dry completely before placing it back into the CPAP machine. Clean your machine at least once per week, and clean it daily during periods of time when you are sick with a cold or the flu.