Your CPAP device is designed to help you achieve a night of more restorative sleep. Gain this positive effect and everything else will follow, including better concentration, more energy, and improved emotional stability.
But the truth is not everyone’s experience with a CPAP machine will automatically be a positive one at first. In fact, CPAP therapy has side effects that can range from mild to serious ones. For instance, the recent Philips CPAP recall affected many CPAP users in the United States.
Many patients said they were left hanging and with many questions as they try to go on their lives without a device that they desperately need every day. Several users of the breathing device even filed a CPAP lawsuit.
According to complaints, the sound abatement foam of the recalled Philips CPAP devices can break down and be ingested or inhaled by the patient. Once this happens, the toxic particles can potentially cause lung injuries, respiratory problems, and even cancer.
On the other hand, some common side effects may also be disturbing for some CPAP machine users. In fact, nasal problems were found to be one of the topmost concerns for those undergoing CPAP therapy. At times, they may even make some users abandon wearing their masks.
Why do nose sores occur with CPAP use?
A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device can cause two types of nose sores: nasal passage dryness and sores inside the nose or nostrils.
The main reason why your nasal passage may dry out due to CPAP use is inadequate humidification. The pressurized air from your device may irritate your nasal passages and dry them out. Humidification helps by adding moisture to the CPAP air and reducing the irritation to your nasal passages which resulted from increased airflow.
On the other hand, sores inside the nose or nostrils may be caused by a nasal pillow or nasal prong device that fits poorly into your nose or nostrils. In some cases, however, your nose is just beginning to “toughen up” as a response to having a foreign object being tightly sealed around its skin.
Another possible reason for the sores inside your nose may be the pressurized air from your CPAP machine drying out your mucous membranes. This reduces your nose’s natural lubrication and makes you more susceptible to tiny scrapes that may develop into sores. These scrapes or cuts can also allow bacteria to enter your bloodstream, resulting in infections.
Sores at The Bridge of The Nose
The bridge of your nose may be sore due to the pressure resulting from tightening your headgear straps too much. This pressure can lead to soreness. If left untreated, it may eventually turn into an open sore.
A CPAP user tightens their headgear to reduce or eliminate air leaks. Some degree of this may be necessary, but too much tightness is an indication that you have the wrong CPAP mask size.
What helps a sore nose from a CPAP mask?
There are some ways you can help prevent nose sores. These include:
Use a Heated Humidifier
A heated CPAP humidifier helps provide warm and moisturized air for you to breathe during your therapy. Users who experience dryness of their nasal passages may largely benefit from humidified CPAP therapy.
Heated humidifiers also help with dry mouth and sore throat. In fact, using CPAP with a humidifier improves the overall comfort of a CPAP user. Research also indicated that CPAP compliance is increased when heated humidification is used with the machine. This is largely due to the reduction in irritation.
A nose lubricant helps prevent irritation and dryness by adding moisture to the affected area. It can soothe nasal passages and maintain their moisture while you use your CPAP equipment.
CPAP Moisture Therapy Cream
Applying moisture therapy cream to the area where your CPAP mask meets your skin helps prevent skin irritation. This cream is also designed to deal with dryness or cracking of skin from using a CPAP mask.
Use Heated Tubing
Heated CPAP tubing is the perfect partner to CPAP humidifiers. Together, these two components of a CPAP machine work in preventing dryness and inflammation experienced by some users. For instance, if the humidifier levels are too high, condensation can form in the tube.
On the other hand, lowering the humidifier level can lead to a dry mouth or nose. In this case, heated tubing may be necessary. Most often, the combination of heat and moisture also helps relieve nasal congestion caused by CPAP therapy.
Preventing Skin Irritation On the Bridge of Your Nose
Aside from nasal passage dryness, CPAP users may also experience having nose sores on their nose bridge. These may show up as red marks on the affected area.
Fortunately, there are some ways to prevent this type of skin irritation, including:
Clean Your CPAP Mask Cushion
After wearing your mask, wipe it down or clean it thoroughly to remove any oils. It may not immediately be obvious to you, but over time, your skin releases natural oils that may hinder your device from performing at its best.
Moreover, dirty cushions also tend to slide, leading to leaks and making users tighten their headgear. And masks that are too tight may cause irritations by pressing into your face.
But if you wash your mask cushion first thing in the morning, you’re most likely to reap the benefits of having a clean and dry mask to use for the next night.
Use a Mask Liner
Using a CPAP mask liner creates a comfortable contact point between your face and your CPAP mask cushion. This improves the seal of your mask, therefore preventing frequent air leaks. A mask liner also protects your face and your mask from sweat and skin oils.
Opt For a Different Type of Mask
If you have nasal sores, your sleep doctor may recommend that you switch back and forth between a nasal prong device and a nasal mask. This may be done to give your nostrils a break.
However, if your sores still didn’t heal, it’s best to discontinue the use of nasal prongs. Having the right fit of the mask is important. In the long run, it will help you avoid common side effects that make other users give up on their sleep apnea treatment.
Needless to say, no patient should be stuck with a mask that’s not meeting their needs.
Breaking Out With Rashes Around the Nose
Redness, rashes, bumps, and facial sores may be indicative of the following:
- Allergic reaction
- Overly tight mask
- A buildup of skin oils under the mask
Most masks are made of silicone. Silicone, on the other hand, is made up of chemicals, to which some people may be allergic. These chemicals normally degrade over time and you can also wash them off with soap and warm water before putting your mask on.
Maintaining the cleanliness of your skin as well as your CPAP mask lessens your risk of having skin breakouts. Loosening the straps of your mask may also help to help you get a proper fit.
The Bottom Line
A sore nose is a common occurrence with CPAP therapy. And even though it may easily be prevented with the use of a heated humidifier, nasal lubricant, heated tubing, or a properly fitting mask, for some users, this inconvenience may easily mean giving up on their sleep apnea treatment.
Other common CPAP problems that may affect comfort include air swallowing or aerophagia, difficulty exhaling, claustrophobia, and potential risk of infection, among others.
It’s important to note, however, that a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device is still considered the gold standard for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). And if you sacrifice a few days of discomfort to choose to stick with it, you may avoid other health risks associated with the sleep disorder, including stroke, heart attack, and high blood pressure, and many more.
What You Can Do
The recent Philips CPAP recall has left sleep apnea patients frustrated as they could potentially wait for up to a year for repair or replacement of the affected CPAP device that they have.
The recall cited a concern about the sound abatement foam component of the company’s devices that could potentially be toxic and break down into small particles and be breathed in or ingested by the user.
Some of the possible health risks from the recalled devices include headache, inflammation, irritation, respiratory problems, lung injuries, and toxic and carcinogenic effects, among others.
If you or a loved one used one of the affected Philips sleep apnea machines and suffered from injuries right after, you may be eligible to file a claim for potential compensation.
Contact us today to know more about your rights and we will assist you in finding the right attorney who will help seek justice for you or your loved one.