This Common Problem Can Interfere With Your CPAP Therapy.
The most popular, proven treatment for sleep apnea is CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) therapy. But research reveals that up to 70% of CPAP users say it dries their mouth, nose, and throat.
The reason: the pressurized air delivered by your CPAP machine can reduce moisture in nasal passages. This can lead to sinus congestion, nose and throat irritation, nosebleeds, cracked lips, and nasal infections.
To solve these problems, many people use heated humidifiers, which replace moisture in your nasal passages that’s lost during your CPAP therapy.
Robert Miller, Apria Healthcare Vice President of Sleep Business, cautions, “Heated humidifiers are important tools to help with adherence to therapy but can create their own challenges such as CPAP rainout.”
What Is CPAP Rainout?
When you wake up in the morning, do you notice water in your mask or condensation in your tubing? That’s CPAP rainout. And it’s very common.
Rainout happens when the air heated by your humidifier cools in your tubing, which condenses into small water droplets. The air blowing through the tubing then pushes the droplets into your mask—and face.
This sounds like gurgling, spitting, or splashing and can be very unpleasant. It can also wake you up and cause anxiety or feelings of claustrophobia.
Rainout even forces some people to discontinue their CPAP therapy. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to serious health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, stroke, and obesity.
The good news: there are relatively simple ways to reduce the risk of CPAP rainout without getting rid of your humidifier or stopping your CPAP therapy.
5 Tips to Avoid CPAP Rainout
The simplest and most effective way to stop rainout is to help ensure that the temperature inside your tubing matches the temperature of your bedroom. Here’s how.
1. Adjust Your Humidifier and CPAP Settings
To help correct rainout, turn down the humidifier setting. You can also turn down the temperature setting on your CPAP machine, especially if you live in a warm or humid climate.
You may also want to look into newer CPAP machines that automatically adjust settings to ensure you get the ideal humidity.
Speak with your doctor or CPAP manufacturer about the right humidity and temperature levels for you.
2. Adjust Your Bedroom Temperature
Just like you adjust the temperature and humidity settings on your CPAP and humidifier, you should also adjust the settings on the thermostat in your bedroom.
If your bedroom is too cold, it can cause condensation to form in your tubing and mask.
Experiment and find the temperature that’s comfortable to sleep in but also doesn’t cause rainout.
3. Use Heated CPAP Tubing
Heated CPAP tubing is an effective way to reduce the risk of rainout. It keeps the temperature of the air consistent as it travels from the humidifier to your mask.
By keeping the air consistently warm, it doesn’t condense into droplets.
Heated CPAP tubing is particularly helpful when your bedroom is cool and the air from your humidifier is warm.
Apria’s Robert Miller adds, “Many newer CPAP models come with heated tubing. Older models can be fitted with a heated tubing attachment.”
4. Keep Your Hose Under Wraps
Another way to prevent rainout: keep your CPAP hose warm. Look into specially designed tube covers that you can wrap around your hose. These insulate the hose and keep the air inside it warm.
You can even run the hose beneath your blankets to provide additional warmth for the hose.
5. Go Low with Your CPAP
If your CPAP machine is at the same level as your mask, move your device to a lower level or even put it on the floor. Thanks to the miracle of gravity, any condensation that forms will run down the hose into the humidifier rather than flowing into your mask and face as you sleep.
It’s a simple solution—but it works!
Out With CPAP Rainout
Using your CPAP machine consistently night after night is the best way to ensure that you get the quantity and quality of sleep you need in order to feel your best and avoid serious health complications.
Says Robert Miller, “If you continue having problems, speak with your doctor or your Home Care provider. Don’t let CPAP rainout interfere with your CPAP therapy!”
1. Peters, B. (Updated 2023, January 11). How to Avoid Water, Rainout, and Moisture in CPAP Tubing and Masks. Verywell Health. https://www.verywellhealth.com/how-to-avoid-moisture-in-cpap-tubing-3015190.
2. Avoid CPAP rainout. ResMed. https://www.resmed.com/en-us/sleep-apnea/sleep-blog/avoid-cpap-rainout/.
3. CPAP hose rainout. Sleep Apnea Guide. https://www.sleep-apnea-guide.com/cpap-hose-rainout.html.
4. CPAP Condensation. Sleep Apnea Guide. https://www.sleep-apnea-guide.com/cpap-condensation.html
5. Meadows, A. (Updated 2023, February 16). Should You Use Distilled Water for a CPAP Machine? Sleep Foundation. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/cpap/should-you-use-distilled-water-for-a-cpap-machine#:~:text=Distilled%20water%20is%20the%20best,prevents%20limescale%20buildup%20on%20devices.
6. Peters, B. (Updated 2022, May 24). Do You Have to Use Only Distilled Water in the CPAP Humidifier? Verywell Health. https://www.verywellhealth.com/do-you-need-distilled-water-for-the-cpap-humidifier-3015017
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