Managing Possible Side Effects

If you have sleep apneoa and were prescribed a CPAP machine, you may have noticed some of the CPAP side effects that come along with wearing it. Recognising what these problems are can help you to find solutions so you can wear your CPAP comfortably.

The first few nights on CPAP may be difficult, while you acclimate. Many patients at first find the mask uncomfortable, claustrophobic or embarrassing.

As with any course of treatment, some people may experience some side effects when starting therapy. Since we do not want anything coming between you and a good night’s sleep, we have written down some tips to help you manage any common problems.

Dry Mouth

If your mouth stays open while you sleep, your CPAP will increase the amount of air it produces which can result in a dry mouth. Using a humidifier will decrease any dryness significantly. Humidifier settings can be altered to best suit your needs. Alternative remedies include using a chin strap to help keep your mouth closed or using a full-face mask which covers both your nose and mouth.

Mask leaks

This will usually be resolved by re-adjusting your mask on your face. Take off and reapply your mask and tighten your headgear as advised by your Beechfield Sleep Patient Manager. Ensure that you do not over tighten the mask straps. Contact your Beechfield Sleep Patient Manager if mask leaks persist.

Headaches

Headaches can occur if the straps of the mask are adjusted too tightly across your forehead. Loosen slightly and see if the problem improves. Morning headaches are also a common symptom of OSA. If they do not subside after starting CPAP therapy, you may not be using CPAP long enough to see results. 

Discomfort from gushing of air/too much pressure

Depending on the individual, it may take days, weeks or even months for the person to become totally accustomed and comfortable with therapy. Try and relax as best you can while taking deep breaths through your nose while keeping your mouth closed. Don’t hesitate to call your Beechfield Sleep Patient Manager for support.

Bocked or runny nose

This is common at the initial stages of treatment and usually resolves on its own. However, if it is very uncomfortable you can consider trying an over the counter nasal spray to relieve symptoms.

Strap marks or rash around the nose or face

This is usually caused by over-tightening your mask straps and usually resolves by loosening them slightly. Always ensure that you can get two fingers under the straps at the same time to prevent sores occurring. If facial marks do not subside a short time after removing your mask in the morning, please call your Beechfield Sleep Patient Manager. In some cases, the person may be sensitive to the mask itself. This is easily solved by wearing a mask liner under your mask.

Irritated eyes

Mask leaks through the top of your mask may cause dry, sore eyes. Check that your mask is tightened correctly so that the seal is strong enough to prevent leaks occurring. If the problem persists, contact your Beechfield Sleep Patient Manager for some guidance on resolving the issue.

Nose bleeds

Nose bleeds can occur when your nasal passages become dry or irritated. You should contact your consultant or Beechfield Sleep Patient Manager should you experience nose bleeds.

Air coming from device is warmer than usual

This usually happens when the filter is clogged with dust particles or blocked by bedclothes, curtains, or other materials. Replace (or alternatively clean) the filter and check that your CPAP is free from any other blockages. Alternatively, your bedroom may be too warm, and you may need to turn down the heating or open windows.

Cold/Flu/Ear Infection/Other Illness

Should you acquire an infection of the upper respiratory system, inner ear or other illness, please contact your consultant or your Beechfield Sleep Patient Manager. You may have to temporarily cease therapy, depending on your consultant’s recommendations.

Cold nose

This can happen when the air in the room is too cold. Air can cool down while moving from the CPAP device down through the tubing. When this happens the temperature in your bedroom may need altering. You can change the position of the tubing so that it runs under the bedsheets or alternatively you can contact your Beechfield Sleep Patient Manager who will provide you with a tube warmer to ensure the air doesn’t get too cold for you to tolerate.

Bloated Stomach

Excess air may cause your stomach to become bloated or distended. Should this happen you need to contact your Beechfield Sleep Patient Manager or Sleep Consultant as your CPAP pressure may need adjusting.

Equipment fault

If your CPAP fails to turn on, stops and starts or an error message comes up on the screen please contact your Beechfield Sleep Patient Manager or alternatively the Beechfield Helpdesk on (057) 8682304. There may be several causes for these faults. It is always best to ensure that the CPAP is the only device plugged into a socket at any given time.

Snoring still present/Energy levels not improved

Consistency is key in ensuring that your CPAP therapy is effective, and you see results ASAP! This means, that ideally you should be getting 5 hours plus therapy each night. Obviously, the longer you use CPAP, the better you will feel. In some instances, there is a chance that you might need your pressure or mask adjusted. Your Beechfield Sleep Patient Manager or sleep clinic can help you determine if this is the case.

The latter corresponds to a sharp decrease in airflow for 10 seconds or longer. This means that when your airway is closed over, your blood oxygen levels drop. This may happen many times over the course of the night, with the airway only able to reopen through the effort of snoring or gasping for breath.

Now you are probably thinking ‘but I don’t snore!’. The truth is however, that most people with OSA are not aware that they snore and are totally oblivious to any choking sensation/pauses in breathing while asleep! More often than not, it is either a partner or a housemate that picks up on the symptoms of OSA before the individual themselves.

Maintenance

Quick tip: Always carry out any cleaning of your CPAP and accessories as early as possible in the morning. This ensures that everything will have dried sufficiently for when you are using your device that night.

Mask: Clean daily with a non-scented baby wipe. Make sure that you only apply gentle pressure so you don’t affect the seal. Airdry. You can also wash your mask’s straps in lukewarm, soapy water when needed (Once or twice a month is plenty!) Just remember to remove the straps from the mask first.

CPAP Hose: Clean once a week with warm, soapy water and ensuring you rinse out with clear water afterwards – you don’t want a smell of soap coming from their CPAP! Hang up to dry – hanging over your shower door is a good option.

CPAP Device: An occasional wipe down should suffice. If you feel the need, you can use a damp cloth/sponge with warm, soapy water. Just make sure that your device is unplugged from the mains first and is completely dry before you plug it back in at night.

Humidifier: You should rinse out your humidifier daily and can give it a thorough wash once a week using warm, soapy water. Alternatively, you can put it in the dishwasher. Always use distilled/purified water purchased from your pharmacist. If this is not possible, use cool, boiled, bottled water.

What our customers say

Beechfield Sleep is an excellent company. They're reasonably priced and have a great range of products.

My patient manager Rosin is very well informed and provides a great back up service. She is always there at the end of the phone or to call out. I feel very safe with Beechfield Sleep.

Edel Gallagher

I am delighted with the CPAP machine from Beechfield Sleep. I have been using it for over a month and even after the first night of using it, I couldn't believe how well I slept. It's fantastic to wake up feeling well-rested & refreshed. Thanks for the demonstration and information, you explained everything perfectly and I felt very confident using it on the first night and thereafter. It's also great to have you at the other end of the phone if I've any questions or concerns.

Jenny Sheridan

Thank you so much for all your help. After years of feeling exhausted, it's great to wake up feeling like I've actually slept. I would like to pay special thanks to all the staff who really explained everything in detail and who have been at the end of the phone for my constant questions! They have shown unbelievable patience, especially in getting the right mask! Thanks again, this has been life-changing

Ronan Hackett