Put an End to Nasal Dryness From Your CPAP


Robert Miller

Robert has worked in the sleep and home respiratory healthcare space for over 29 years and is a Registered Polysomnographic Technologist. Robert has been married for 33 years to his wife, Laurie, has 6 children and 5 grandchildren. Robert leads sleep initiatives and strategies that improve the patient experience and promote better health outcomes so that our patients can achieve their best night's sleep—every night.

These Four Simple Tips Can Help Alleviate Nasal Dryness Caused By Your CPAP Device

While acknowledging the advantages of CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) therapy, some individuals frequently grapple with uncomfortable nasal dryness. The gas flow in CPAP therapy can challenge the nasal airway's ability to retain adequate humidity and warmth, leading to moisture loss in the airways and potential symptoms of inflammation and upper airway dryness for CPAP users.

"When beginning the use of CPAP therapy, patients often complain of nasal dryness during the first few months. The weather may also contribute to the side effects of using a CPAP," says Robert Miller, Apria's Vice President of Sleep Business.

The CPAP machine encourages continuous airflow directly through the nose and/or mouth. This is a forced airflow that patients may not have experienced before. This is ideal for patients with conditions such as sleep apnea, but can have a few side effects.

Patients who have started CPAP therapy may notice their nose is dry, crusty, and occasionally bloody. 

How to Avoid Nasal Dryness

Here are four ways to prevent or stop nasal dryness caused by your CPAP therapy:

1. Check your mask

A hissing or whistling sound may indicate an ill-fitting mask, potentially causing nasal dryness. If you experience this issue, it's advisable to consult with a CPAP or sleep specialist for a mask refitting. The initial fitting might have produced inaccurate results, requiring adjustments. Properly-fitted CPAP masks ensure the intended airway pressure reaches your nasal passages, minimizing the risk of dryness.

2. Add humidification

Heated humidifiers serve as a beneficial solution to alleviate nasal discomfort. While many machines come equipped with built-in humidifiers, you also have the option to purchase them as additional components. It's essential to use distilled water to ensure optimal performance. Additionally, incorporating heated tubing can contribute to maintaining warm and moist air, enhancing overall comfort during CPAP therapy.

3. Try an ointment

Apply non-petroleum-based moisturizer, such as CPAP Moisture Therapy Cream, to the affected area as needed. Products containing petroleum jelly, paraffin/mineral oils, or alcohol should be avoided as they can harm the soft cushioning of a CPAP mask.

4. Check your settings

The accuracy of your CPAP prescription and settings is vital for effective treatment. Sometimes your machine settings require adjustment, contact us to speak with a sleep specialist to assess your machine settings.

Ending Nasal Dryness

While CPAP therapy offers valuable benefits for individuals with conditions like sleep apnea, it's not uncommon for users to encounter the discomfort of nasal dryness. Recognizing that this challenge is essential, and seeking solutions can significantly improve the overall CPAP experience. If the condition continues, contact your doctor.

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1. “4 Tips to Alleviate Nasal Dryness from CPAP Usage.” CPAPnation, November 23, 2022. https://www.cpapnation.com/blogs/news/4-tips-to-alleviate-nasal-dryness-from-cpap-usage.

2. Hope, Kath. “Petroleum Jelly Products like Vaseline + Vicks Should Not Be Used with CPAP, NIV + Oxygen Masks.” hope2sleep.co.uk, February 16, 2017. https://www.hope2sleep.co.uk/blog/petroleum-jelly-products-like-vaseline-vicks-should-not-be-used-with-cpap-niv-oxygen-masks.html.

3. Repasky, David. “Nasal Dryness with CPAP: Tips, Tricks, and Products.” CPAP.com, September 14, 2023. https://www.cpap.com/blog/nasal-dryness-cpap/.
4. “Why Is Heated Humidification Important in CPAP Therapy?” Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, November 1, 2023. https://www.fphcare.com/

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About the AuthorRobert Miller