The first solution is to do exquisite cleaning of the masks and hoses to prevent blowing bacteria, viruses and fungi into the nasal and sinus cavities. Fungal infections of the sinuses can be very difficult to diagnose and to treat and is more frequent in patients who have been thru multiple regimens of antibiotics. Thorough cleaning is especially important when CPAP is used wih a humidifier which allows growth of biofilms in the equipment. Because cleaning can be inconvenient patients should have several sets of masks and hoses so they have a fresh set available even when they don't get around to daily cleaning. While the cost of numerous masks and hoses is an issue initially the masks will last longer so with time the cost issue becomes mute.
The use of saline mists and saline irrigation is becoming more common and use of a Netty Pot or baby syringe is now commonplace. You can by packets of salt or use Kosher salt with warm water for safe and inexpensive rinse or if mixing saline creates stress patients can use aeresol cans of contact lens fluid without preservatives for more convenience. The use of black tea with saline for irrigation can create an antibacterial rinse and the tannin in the tea has a positive effect on healing mucous membranes. Some patients find adding a drop or two of glycerine is soothing to the tissues.
The use of Lanolin around the nose or lips can relieve and prevent skin irritation from the masks and humidity. Gel-Claire is a prescription product for oral sores from chemotherapy but is also useful (off label use) for dry mouth, throat and nasal cavities and can be used with saline irrigation to relieve discomfort.
The other alternative is to safely discontinue the use of CPAP and replace it with a comfortable oral appliance. Information about oral appliances for treating sleep apnea can be found at http://www.ihatecpap.com/
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine now accepts oral appliances as a first line treatment of mild to moderate sleep apnea and an alternative to CPAP for severe apnea when a patient is CPAP intolerant or prefers an oral appliance. It is vial to have a sleep test to insure effectiveness of oral appliances.
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information on sleep apnea, sleep apnea treatment and cpap alternatives are available at www.ihatecpap.com This is the premiere site for the promotion of Dental Sleep Medicine and Sleep Apnea Dentists.