August 15, 2010

Sleep Apnea CPAP Nasal Mask Liners

Disclosure – This is something I purchased for my own use, but since I have been very satisfied with it, I wanted others with sleep apnea and using a CPAP machine and nasal masks to be aware of some of the benefits. I am receiving no compensation for this.

Have you had problems with air by-pass from your nasal masks? I have had many problems with air leaks, especially with certain masks. These are normally the ones that I mistakenly let the the local supplier talk me into. I had finally found a mask that was comfortable and very seldom had caused air by-pass or air leaks. Wouldn't you know it, next time I needed to replace a mask, they no longer had it in stock. Not that the new mask that replaced it does not work, it just has too many air leaks.

Even after adjusting it several times and working with different strap adjustments, it still allows too much air to leak around the mask. When you add in the facial oil build-up over the night, it was not a pleasant experience, I would often wake up with air blowing in my eyes. How I found these liners, I am not sure of, but in looking at some sites that sell different CPAP masks, I know that I saw something that I passed over the first few times.

Since I had stopped using the current mask and returned to the comfortable one, I started looking in earnest. This time I saw the ad and decided to check it out. Still I was not impressed, so I went searching and found the manufacturer's site. After reading much of the site information, I sent them an email and asked a few questions.  Since this was after hours for them, I did not expect an answer until the next day.

An hour later I had an answer. I did not order then, but I should have. A couple of days later, I did order a sample of six nasal mask liners. When I received them the following week, I tried one that night. I needed to readjust my straps and found that I did not need as much tension on them. It still needs to be firm, but the air leaks stopped. Yes, if I turn while sleeping, some air will escape, but normally by adjusting my mask it stops. Since then I have ordered the 30 day supply.

Now before you tell me that there are other options like nasal pillows, or other appliances, I will only say that they do not work for me. Yes, there are other nasal masks and I may try others in the future. I will also be investigating full-face masks in the future, but for now, I have my solution. The nasal mask liners cost less than a dollar per day if used the way it is recommended by the manufacturer.

Disadvantage for me is that at present Medicare does not cover these liners. So now I am working on several experiments to see what can be done to get more use from the CPAP nasal mask liners. The manufacturer strongly recommends using a new liner each night. I have found that if I am careful and turn the liner over and carefully lay it out, I can use it for two nights. I have tried using it for three and four nights, but then there are problems of the air leaks happening again. The facial oils have filled the pores of the liner and it looses it's effectiveness.

Washing the liners in my wife's delicates bag in the laundry does not work. The liner basically disintegrates as it does not have a sewn edge holding it together. So I took eight of the used liners and soaked them for about four to five hours in a mild laundry soap. After rinsing them carefully three times to remove the laundry soap, I carefully laid them out on a sweater rack and laid a couple of paper towels over the top using a couple of large bamboo spoons to anchor the paper towels and let them dry.

They have worked well for another two nights. Now I will need to see if they will accept another washing – doubtful. Even without washing them another time, my effective cost per liner usage for four nights will be less that 25 cents each. While this is not recommended by the manufacturer, I had to see what could be done. Am I satisfied, very definitely yes. Will I do this for each liner? I may. It has just been interesting learning what can be done and finding out how well the mask liners hold up.

So if you are one that has problems with air leaks or air by-pass from your CPAP nasal masks, check them out. Now to make sure that my supplier has the nasal mask that I prefer in stock the next time I need a replacement. Otherwise, it will be time to replace the supplier.

I have learned that each face has a different requirement in size of mask and one mask does not fit every face. There are normally two or three sizes for each mask and the mask that works for you may not work for me. Thank goodness for the RemZzzs nasal mask liners! Take time to explore the site.

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