As we all know by now, many sleep apnea sufferers are treated with the use of a CPAP machine. This machine consists of a nasal mask and headgear that attaches the nasal mask to the face, a hose that moves air from the machine to the mask that’s attached to the face and the CPAP machine itself.
The use of a CPAP machine can cause a very dry throat and dry airways in a lot of people, which can be very uncomfortable. Dry airways can also cause swelling, which can actually affect the usefulness of the CPAP machine. In some cases, this dryness can actually cause bleeding. To combat this, there are humidifiers available that can add moisture to the air from coming from your CPAP machine. There are two main types of humidifiers available – a cool passover humidifier, which passes room temperature air over room temperature water, and a heated humidifier, which heats the air enough to ensure that it holds onto enough moisture to keep your airways comfortable.
There are many other humidifiers available, some of which are standalone, some of which are integrated. Take a look at www.cpap.com/cpap-faq/Humidifiers.html for more information on the different types of humidifiers.
There are some disadvantages to these humidifiers, and one of the most common problems is something that is often referred to as “rainout”. This is actually the accumulation of water in the CPAP tube, which can leave you with a damp face. Rainout is caused when warm, moist air leaves the humidifier to travel down the CPAP tube. As this air travels down the tube, the surrounding room temperature cools the tube down, thus cooling the tube. As the warm air inside the tube begins to cool down, it turns into condensation droplets.
What Can I Do?
There are a few solutions to rainout, so you don’t need to fret that you’ll be stuck with the problem forever. One of the easiest ways to combat the problem is to keep your bedroom temperature warmer than that of the CPAP machine, so switch on the heating or keep a storage heater in your bedroom. However, this isn’t suitable for some people because many people do like to sleep somewhere nice and cool, and a warm bedroom isn’t often conducive to a good night’s sleep.
Another way to combat rainout is to keep your CPAP machine at the same level as your bed. If the air doesn’t have to travel down the tube, rather up a tube, if any excess condensation does occur, it will run back down to the humidifier, rather than down to your face. This can reduce the effectiveness of the machine, but it is good as a temporary measure.
One of the most recommended ways of solving rainout problems is to purchase a heated hose or a hose insulator. The heated hose that everyone seems to be recommending is the Aussie Hose, which apparently eliminates all rainouts. It attaches to the CPAP machine and is compatible with all CPAP machines new and old. They say that their tubing is completely worth it because you don’t need to buy a new CPAP machine with a rainout reducer – you can just fix this tube to your current machine and it works instantly.
Having a heated tube or insulating the tube means that the air inside the tube stays warm and doesn’t cool down – so that means that there is no chance of rainout, as the air has no chance to turn into condensation.
In most cases, you will need a valid prescription on file before you can purchase a CPAP humidifier or heated tubing – so if you suspect that you have sleep apnea and would like to be treated with a CPAP device, humidifier and heated tubing, you need to go to your doctor and get a diagnosis before you can begin treatment.