Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to know about the home sleep study?

Click here for all you need to know about your home sleep study.

I am experiencing air leaks from my CPAP mask. What should I do?

The normal oil drainage of the skin can become blocked where the mask contacts the skin and may cause irritation.

You can:
- Use a cleanser that balances the pH level in the skin each night.
- Ensure your mask is washed and rinsed in clean water.
- Place a bandage or second skin, such as 3M Micropore™ (available from a pharmacy), over the irritated area.
- Do not use any face creams or moisturisers before putting on your mask.

If irritation persists, see your doctor as you may have an allergy to the material.

I am experiencing skin irritations on my face/nose from wearing the CPAP mask. What should I do?

The mask may be pressing too hard on your face or nose.

You should:
- Check your headgear. If your headgear is 9-12 months old it may need replacing. As it wears with age you will need to re-adjust the straps to stop leakage. You may be pulling the straps too tight.
- Consult your BOC Care Centre therapists to check the fitting of your mask.

The cold air through the mask is waking me. How can I stop this?

If you are experiencing cold air through your mask you may need to increase the humidifier setting (if your CPAP machine has one). You can also insulate the tubing by:

- Placing it under the bedclothes.
- Wrapping it in aluminium foil and crepe bandage.
- Purchasing a tubing cover.

I am waking with a blocked nose/sinus trouble/sneezing. How can I stop this?

Sinus problems relating to CPAP therapy are due to the cold, dry air of the machines irritating the sinuses.
You can try the following:
- If you have a humidifier, the setting can be increased.
- If you do not have a humidifier, you should consider using one to help keep the air warm and moist.

Can I use my CPAP machine if I have a cold?

If you have a sinus or upper respiratory tract infection you should cease treatment (especially if using a nasal mask) and consult your doctor before recommencing therapy. If you decide to continue with CPAP therapy during a cold, you must thoroughly wash your mask and tubing on a more regular basis to avoid an extended illness and possible re-infection.

Can I stop taking my medication such as blood pressure and other medications now that I have begun CPAP therapy and my condition is improved?

No. Even though CPAP therapy does aide other disorders, you should never cease any medication without the prescribing doctor's advice.

How do I care for my CPAP machine?

After you have purchased a CPAP machine, it is important to establish a maintenance routine for hygiene purposes, and to prolong the life of your CPAP equipment. Please read all the information below prior to cleaning your CPAP equipment.

Before each use:

Inspect the mask, mask headgear, humidifier chamber and air tubing for deterioration. DO NOT USE if aged or damaged.

After each use:

- Empty your humidifier chamber each morning.
- Wash your humidifier chamber with 1 part vinegar and 10 parts
water. Leave this for 1 hour then rinse thoroughly and dry upside down on a towel or dish rack (out of direct sunlight).
- Disconnect your mask and mask headgear from the machine and rinse it out with warm water (the body’s natural oils make it hard to maintain a good seal. This is similar to using a face cream before fitting the mask).
- Hand-wash your mask and mask headgear in warm, soapy water, using pure soap (see cautions below). It should be washed first thing in the morning and left to dry during the day. This will ensure your mask and mask headgear will be ready for use by night. Please note: the dye may run during the first wash.
- Air-dry your mask and mask headgear on towel or dish rack.
- If you have a Fisher and Paykel mask that has a grey foam cushion DO NOT immerse in water, wipe over with a mildly damp cloth only.


- DO NOT use solutions containing bleach, chlorine, alcohol, aromatics, moisture, antibacterial agents or scented oils to clean any part of the mask, mask headgear, humidifier chamber or air tubing.
- DO NOT expose any part of the mask, mask headgear, humidifier chamber or air tubing to direct sunlight as it may accelerate deterioration.
- If any visible signs of deterioration of the mask, mask headgear, humidifier chamber or air tubing are apparent (cracking, tearing, etc.) the product should be discarded and replaced.
- NEVER use an appliance such as a hair dryer to ‘quick dry’ products.
- DO NOT wash mask, mask headgear, humidifier chamber or air tubing using the dishwasher.
- It is not advised to use cleaning products that have a strong aroma.