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    Old 12-04-2006, 07:33 PM   #1
    Sunnycal
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    CPAP mask leak

    My husband has a CPAP (actually a fancy version of a BiPap) and is having a terrible time with the mask leaking. He is on his second type, but it still doesn't help. He ends up taking it off in the middle of the night because he can't get it to stop. So he is not getting the benefit of it, plus he is not sleeping well because he has to constantly wake up to fight with it. Any ideas?
    Thanks in advance,
    Sunny

     
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    Old 12-04-2006, 08:11 PM   #2
    mkgb
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    Re: CPAP mask leak

    I have a shallow cushion full face mask. I have to make sure to keep the seal clean and tight. If my seal gets oily it slips. Sometimes right before I go to sleep, I use a bit of germex on the seal to keep it oil free. I also have to replace my mask every three months because the seal stretches out and begins to leak. I also cinch the mask to the point I have raccoon face for a good bit of the bext morning. One tip that I was shown by the med tech that set my CPAP up was to always put it on with the air flowing... this improves the masks resting position on my face.

    Good luck.
    MG

     
    Old 12-04-2006, 08:58 PM   #3
    Sunnycal
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    Re: CPAP mask leak

    Thank you so much. We will try your suggestions.
    Sunny

     
    Old 12-04-2006, 09:04 PM   #4
    Sunnycal
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    Re: CPAP mask leak

    After I posted my reply, I realized that I don't know what Germex is. I looked it up and found a anti-bacterial spray cleaner (like Lysol?) that says not to have prolonged contact with skin. I also found an ointment for wounds. Neither of those sound exactly right, but maybe I don't know enough. Where do you get it?
    My husband also has a full face mask. The technician told him to clean it with Baby Wipes. The directions say to take it apart to clean it, but it seems that you run the risk of breaking the connections.
    Thanks

    Last edited by Sunnycal; 12-04-2006 at 09:07 PM.

     
    Old 12-05-2006, 07:46 AM   #5
    mkgb
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    Re: CPAP mask leak

    Sunnycal

    The Germex I was referring to is a hand sanitizing gel, this is made to go on and sink into the skin. The sprays tend to be used on surfaces in medical environments. The hand sanitizing gel is predominantly alcohol and has no side effects after contact with the skin (may cause a little skin dryness, but it is not ment to be used daily). I believe another hand sanitizer brand name is Purel(sp). The cleaning methodology given to my husband and me is as follows:

    1) Weekly soak: face mask, tubes and other bits and pieces, hose, and water reservoir in a 1/4 vinegar solution. This helps kill bacteria and minimizes reoccuring sinus and respiratory infections due to use of an unclean CPAP and mask apparatus.

    2) Wash all of your equipment daily with johnson's and johnson's baby wash or shampoo daily (I have tried the generic baby wash solutions.. they smell horrible).

    3) Rinse thoroughly and let air dry through the day.

    From trial and error over the years:

    4) A double wash with the baby wash may be necessary after the vinegar bath, to alleviate the vinegar smell.

    5) I use the gel hand sanitizer when I forget to wash my mask and equipment in the morning. (once a week on average) After applying the thin coating of hand sanitizer, turn on your CPAP and let it blow through the mask.. it will dry quickly. How do I apply the hand sanitizer? I apply it to my hands, then use my fingers to wipe down the seal and interior of the mask.

    6) Baby wipes tend to have a moisturizer in them.. which can cause mask slipping. After all babies are known for sensitive skin and thus are accomidated by manifacturers of baby products.

    Additional trick:
    We have purchased a 24 guage shot gun cleaning rod with cotton mops. When assembled this allows us to use it like a bottle brush on the 6 foot air hose. You scrub from one end and then the other, this covers the full length of the hose. We have found it works wonders and only costs around $8 total at Wal-Mart for two mops and the brass rod.

    Best of luck.
    MG

    Last edited by mkgb; 12-05-2006 at 07:50 AM.

     
    Old 12-05-2006, 08:29 PM   #6
    Sunnycal
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    Re: CPAP mask leak

    Thank you so much. It's really helpful to get ideas from someone who has "been there". We questioned the Baby Wipes, too. The house brands seemed to have less moisturizer, though.
    When you wash the mask, do you take it apart? His has an extra tube because of being a V-Pap, so there is an extra filter and all kinds of stuff. He is worried about damaging the connections.
    Sunny

    Last edited by Sunnycal; 12-05-2006 at 08:30 PM.

     
    Old 12-06-2006, 07:31 AM   #7
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    Re: CPAP mask leak

    I change/wash the filters in the back of my CPAP bimonthly/monthly respectively. My mask does not have a filter on it or an extra hose. But hoses are the main area of concern for collection and growth of bacteria. I remove the valve that joins my humidifier reservoir to my CPAP, the humidifier reservior (which I open and scrub), the mask/humidifier connection hose (scrub down from both ends with shot gun mop and rod), my mask (which I detach the rubber forehead brace and seal liner). Everything else I leave intake.. as does my husband. Insurance will replace your masks whenever it is medically necessary so, if something breaks you shouldn't be two worried. My husband has had two break and I have had one break, for there cost you think they would be made a little better.

    In my opinion remove any soft rubber pieces... that are removeable and wash and rinse as thoroughly as possible. The hoses are a must.

    Sincerely,
    MG

     
    Old 12-09-2006, 03:02 PM   #8
    Countrygirl1
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    Re: CPAP mask leak

    There is a specific type of pillow called the PAPillow. The countour of the pillow is suppose to help prevent mask leaks. I do not know how much the pillow costs.

     
    Old 12-26-2006, 10:41 AM   #9
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    Re: CPAP mask leak

    There is a CPAP device called "nasal pillows" that are two little tubes you fit into your nostrils instead of wearing a mask, and has no leaking problems. It's supposed to work better than a half-face mask for someone with a beard. I don't think it is for someone who needs a full face mask, though. I tried it when my mask was leaking and found it too uncomfortable.

    But there are a variety of masks manufacturers and models on the market. There are also a variety of head gear for holding the masks on. Some connect to the mask at both the forehead and the nose, others only at the nose. Which is best for you seems to be trial and error. Some of the newer masks use a "gel cushion" for the seal, and others use a loose membrane of plastic sheeting that is supposed to trap the air. My problems seem to be mostly with the loose membrane type. They stretch or tear after a while. But I've discovered that you can replace just that part of the mask instead of the whole mask and save the insurance company money.

    My technician advised me to keep my mask free of oils; he said that oils destroy the plastic. He told me to clean the mask daily to eliminate oil from that get on it from contact with my face (same oil that leaves fingerprints on surfaces). So I am skeptical of advice to clean with baby wipes. They usually contain skin lotion that contains mineral oil or other oily base. He told me that wipes containing water and witch hazel (designed for hemorrhoids) would be ok to use. I also saw that there is some liquids made that are claimed to be specifically for cleaning CPAP equipment. I think I saw that on the CPAP Man's web site.

    I started using some Clorox-brand bleach-free Disinfecting wipes I found at the supermarket, but then I saw that they say they are a skin irritant so stopped using them.

    I also have been told to take the equipment apart and clean with soapy water on a daily basis. But I don't do it that often because I think that over the long term that will stretch and wear out the seals, and because its a nuisance to do. I've also been told to use only distilled water in my humidifier and I haven't been doing that either. I haven't seen any appreciable build up of scale in the humidifier so think that is ok.

    A long time ago one tech told me to clean the hoses weekly with a weakened solution of bleach. I did that in my bathtub and found it harmed the seal of the tub's drain! Other techs have said to use diluted vinegar. I was told half vinegar and half water. That's what I've been doing, although I am not careful about the proportion of water to vinegar. About the only thing I do on a daily basis is wipe the mask with a witch hazel wipe, empty the water reservoir, and blow dry air through the tubing to dry it. I also occasionally put some Listerine antiseptic mouth wash in the water reservoir and blow that through the tubes before blowing dry air through. I figure that if its safe for my mouth it should be ok if some residue gets in my nose.

    My CPAP machine has 2 filters. One is a thin paper-like filter that is supposed to be replaced about twice a year, I think. The other is a sponge rubber filter that is supposed to be washed, air dried, and reused, probably weekly. I keep neglecting to do it!!! I used to have 2 of those filters so I could use one while the other was drying, but I lost one once when my apartment was cleaned by someone.

     
    Old 01-01-2007, 12:18 PM   #10
    Sunnycal
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    Re: CPAP mask leak

    Thank you so much for the ideas. I have some of the hemorrhoidal wipes, but they have aloe. I'll check at the store to see if there are plain ones. But you're right, they would have less moisturizing stuff than baby wipes. My husband always uses distilled water so he doesn't see the reason for needing to clean everything so often (other than the mask). We will ask about a gel cushion mask. So far we have tried three different types of full face masks, none of which work very well. Two of them leak around the eyes, and that is the worst, my husband says. The other one leaks on the cheeks and if he is really tired, he doesn't wake up.
    Thank you for your ideas.
    Sunny

     
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