We talk a lot about CPAP compliance on our blog, and detail methods and tips you can implement to make your CPAP experience more comfortable. But what about CPAP accessories that help make therapy much easier, more tolerable, and dare we say, even enjoyable?
Here we hightlight are 7 CPAP accessories that every CPAP user should consider purchasing to get the most out of their treatment.
One of the biggest complaints we here from new patients is trying to get comfortable while sleeping with their CPAP mask. The design of many CPAP masks make sleeping in any position other than on your back difficult.
Patients that prefer sleeping on their side complain of mask discomfort or mask leakage because, when they sleep on their side, their pillow pushes against the mask causing discomfort or leaks.
One of the greatest inventions for CPAP users is a specially designed CPAP pillow. The CPAPMax Pillow by Contour looks a lot like a jigsaw puzzle in that there are cutouts on the sides of the pillow. These cutouts allow you to sleep on your side without your mask resting on your pillow and pushing against your face.
Using a CPAPMax pillow will give you additional comfort while you sleep, reduce mask leaks, give you more hours of uninterrupted therapy, and therefore help you feel fresh and alert the next morning.
If you're a new CPAP user, you may experience a little discomfort when first adjusting to wearing a mask every night. Some patients with sensitive skin may develop rashes, skin irritation, or even facial sores in the first couple of weeks.
For those with sensitive skin, or those experiencing mask leakage, a nasal pad may be the solution to help you quickly and comfortably adjust to your CPAP therapy.
Pictured at right is the Resmed Gecko Nasal Pad
Nasal dryness and skin irritation are a common complaint among CPAP users. Patients using nasal cannulas sometimes complain of dry nasal passages and sometimes even experience nosebleeds.
And as discussed above, some patients with sensitive skin complain of irritation from the mask material rubbing, or even simply being in contact with, their skin. And while many manufacturers make masks out of a variety of materials making finding a comfortable mask possible for just about any user, sometimes people need a little additional comfort.
Using regular facial and nasal moisturizers is usually frowned upon by DME techs because many moisturizers contain chemicals that can breakdown the materials of the mask, decreasing their lifespan.
However, companies like Contour have specially designed moisturizers that are safe to use with CPAP masks. Their Cann-Ease Nasal Moisturizer is a topical ointment that is uniquely designed to eliminate dryness and friction associated with CPAP nasal cannula use.
Contour also makes a skin moisturizer called CPAP Moisture Therapy that helps keep skin healthy and hydrated without compromising the CPAP mask material.
We've written articles on how to make your travel experience more convenient when packing along your CPAP devices. However, one thing we failed to mention in that article is that you may want to consider purchasing a special travel case for your device.
Many patients overlook the necessity of having a special travel kit for their CPAP machines and accessories. The Philips Respironics PAP Travel Briefcase makes traveling with your CPAP extremely easy. This briefcase is an all-in-one luggage option that safely and securely allows you to pack not only your CPAP equipment, but has extra space for a laptop and other carry-on items.
The PAP Travel Briefcase also makes going through security easy and hassle free. The case unzips easily for screening to display all of the contents held within, and makes them easy to take out for further examination by TSA officers without disturbing your other contents.
But don't take our word for it, check out this video from Philips Respironics detailing this amazing product.
Power Adapters & Batteries
Speaking of traveling with your CPAP, if you're planning on driving across country, flying overseas, or trekking to remote locations, you may want to consider getting some power adapters for your device.
Most manufacturers offer a variety of plug-in types that make using your CPAP machine anywhere easy. Planning on sleeping in your car? Get a DC power cord for your vehicle's cigarette lighter. Your cigarette lighter is broken? You can get a battery cable adapter and connect it directly to a power source (Resmed 12-volt DC power cord pictured right). Staying in a hotel in Europe? Get international power adapters. Camping off the grid? Purchase or rent a portable battery pack for your device.
And if you don't want to lug around a bunch of CPAP equipment while camping, look into purchasing a Trancsend Travel CPAP Machine. This device comes with international plugs and even a lightweight foldable solar panel so that you can charge your CPAP batteries by day, and use your device at night.
Check out this video from Transcend that shows just how remote you can get, and still be able to use your CPAP device each night.
While most of the items on this list are practical accessories that make CPAP use more convenient or make therapy just a little more tolerable, sometimes you just want accessories that help express your personal style.
Resmed realizes the desire to make your CPAP experience match your individual tastes, and has a variety of stylized headgear for users who simply want to express themselves.
They offer their headgear products in a variety of colors including pink, light blue, leopard print, and even camoflauge for all of you outdoor enthusiasts.
If you're looking to add a little personalized touch to your CPAP experience ask your DME provider about custom headgear.
Cleaning Wipes and Sprays
For maximum efficiency of your CPAP therapy, it's important to clean your CPAP mask and accessories regularly. For those leading already busy lives, the constant upkeep and mask washing may prove to be inconvenient. As described above, many moisturizers and cleaning products can breakdown mask materials.
Soap and water is the most highly recommended cleaning solution for masks, but there are wipes and sprays available to make cleaning your mask faster and easier. However, it is recommended to use specially formulated cleaners to avoid reducing the lifespan of your mask.
Contour Products has a line of cleaning supplies for CPAP masks that use all natural ingredients that are safe, effective, alcohol and scent free, while being gentle on your hands and face.
These cleaning supplies effectively remove dirt, grease, oil, and other organic residue from your mask to help keep it clean and fresh for nightly use.
Pictured at right is the Contour CPAP Mask Cleaner.
There you have it: 7 must-have CPAP accessories and supplies. We understand that this is not a complete list as there are hundreds of amazing products available for CPAP users, and while we would love to discuss all of them, we chose some of our personal favorites for today.
However, we would love to hear about some of your favorite CPAP products and accessories. So please leave a comment below or feel free to shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us about the CPAP accessories that you can't live without.