How to Use a CPAP Machine When You Have a Cold!

It is really tough to use CPAP machines while suffering from a cold so how do you do it?

All CPAP machines need you to use your nose to breath. When the sinuses are stuffy it becomes really difficult to breathe using these machines. You cannot just suddenly stop using the machine as that can bring further danger. This article shows you how you can manage when you have a cold.How to use a CPAP Machine when you have a cold

Important things that you will need:

Here are some items that you will need to use your CPAP machine when you are having a cold.

  • A CPAP machine
  • A Vaporizer
  • A nasal spray (preferably saline)
  • A nasal spray (obviously anti-inflammatory)
  • CPAP humidifier

Here is how you can operate successfully:

If you have cold symptoms…

  • It is not wise to ramp up the pressure of your CPAP machine. Many machines start working with low pressure and gain pressure cumulatively. When you have a cold, the low-pressure setting can cause problems like suffocation. It is best to start with full pressure instead
  • Using saline nasal spray is a smart move. This spray simply adds some moisture in the sinus passages. This can eventually relieve the swelling and help you to breathe easily
  • Now setting up the vaporizer is necessary. You need to direct it into the inward side of your CPAP machine. In this way you can get warm moisture inside the sinuses
  • You can use decongestant spray like Flonase. But, before using it you need to consult with a doctor. It means unless you are prescribed it you should not buy it over the counter. Usually doctors allow their patients to use such sprays while using CPAP machines as they know the patients will suffer from colds at times
  • Now make use of a heated humidifier. This is for your CPAP machine. This is probably the best way to get heated moisture in the air passage

Some other tips:

Heat the saline spray in your microwave for a few seconds to get warm mist. You can conduct squirt testing on the wrist at the beginning to be sure that it’s not too hot.

Decongestants might take some time to become fully effective. Exercise restraint and allow some time to get the a. Do not overuse them.

When buying heated humidifiers for your CPAP machine you might need to spend quite a lot as those tools are expensive.  There are some advanced CPAP machines found today having built in humidifiers. You can try those to avoid future expenses.

If you feel pain in your ear, you should not continue using your CPAP device when you have cold symptoms. In such cases, unrelieved pressure can make the situation worse and your ear pain might become chronic. So be careful about it.

Some patients find the use of CPAP machines are infectious for their ears. Excessive air pressure is the culprit. It forces mucus back in your ear canal and this causes the infection. In such cases you should obviously stop using the machine especially when you are having cold symptoms.


It is quite clear now that patients suffer a lot while having a cold if they try to use a conventional CPAP machine.

As there are no alternatives to CPAP machines for a sleep apnea patients, knowing the side issues is important.

If you follow all the steps in this article, using your CPAP machine with a cold will not be a problem. Colds are so common that almost every sleep apnea patients suffers in every season-changing period. This is why they should know what are the best ways to get some relief and what is the healthiest way to use CPAP machines at those times.

Try to have the tools mentioned in the article and make optimum use of them when you have a cold.

Leave a Comment:

Vinko says June 28, 2016

I am using ResMed S9 last few years and from the beginning I am using 2-3 drops of eucaliptus oil in my humidifier. I’ve NEVER EVER had ANY problems with my respiratory system since.

I would have in the past nose blockages, especially in autumn/winter time, but I am FREE from those now.

Margaret says June 29, 2016

Hi Vinko
Thank you so much for that advice. We will pass on that tip about eucalyptus oil to our readers. Very useful advice!

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