Solutions to Common CPAP Challenges

My mask is leaking or very uncomfortable.
This could be caused by a number of reasons, from needing to adjust your straps to have the wrong size mask. Here are a few things to try to make your mask more comfortable:

  • Readjust headgear straps. The mask should be as loose as it can be, while still creating a seal.
  • Inspect mask for cracks or stiffness. If your mask shows significant signs of wear and tear or is broken at any point, you should replace it immediately. A cracked mask cannot form a proper seal.
  • If you wear dentures, you may need to wear them while using your CPAP.
  • Make sure the tubing isn’t dragging on your mask. Try supporting your tubing above your head, such as draping it over the headboard.
  • For some people, facial hair can cause minor leaks. Consider a trim if the leak is on or around your moustache.
  • If you don’t already, try washing your face before you go to bed. Some people find the oils on their skin prevent the mask from forming a good seal that will prevent leaks.
  • Consider a different mask size if none of these options is solving the problem. You may need to be refit for a new mask.

Too much air is coming into my mask.
Your strap may be too loose, or too tight. Try adjusting your mask and headgear until the air flow is more comfortable.

My skin is getting irritated.
This typically happens when the mask, cushion, or straps have become overly worn. Inspect your mask and other supplies for stiffness, cracks, or breaks and discoloration. Consider replacing your mask if it is showing signs of wear and tear.

I have pressure sores or blisters on my face.
Your mask is probably dirty. Even if your mask doesn’t appear visibly dirty, it can harbor dirt and bacteria that can cause these types of issues. Wash your mask daily, and wash your face each night before you go to bed. Some people find this simple step can also help the mask create a better seal on their face. Most importantly, replace your mask regularly to prevent these types of hygienic issues. Masks stay on your face for many hours each day, directing your airflow. They are built with the optimum materials for comfort and effectiveness, and are then used repeatedly in this very intimate manner. These materials are only expected to last around 90 days.

There is too much pressure on or around my nose.
Your strap is probably too loose or too tight. Readjust your headgear. If this doesn’t help, you may require a different mask or headgear size or style. You may also want to apply skin protection.

I am experiencing nasal, sinus, or ear pain.
This is not a normal side effect of CPAP use. You should contact your physician.

I experience frequent nose bleeds.
Sounds like the air you are breathing is too dry. You should add heated humidification to your CPAP machine, or increase the humidification level if you are already using one.

A good night’s sleep is waiting for you.