What Is A CPAP Humidifier?

Those who are suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have several treatment options. 

One of the most popular and effective solutions comes in the form of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. The main intention here is to ensure that your airways remain open so that the body can receive the oxygen that it requires. 

As a result, you are much less likely to awake during the evening.

Although CPAP is extremely effective, some people awake to a scratchy throat, irritated nostrils or a dry mouth. Thankfully, the addition of a humidifier will help ensure you are comfortable while using your CPAP. 

Let's take a closer look at how CPAP humidifiers function in order to appreciate their unique benefits.

The Basic Function of a Humidifier

As you might have already guessed, these humidifiers function in a similar manner to the humidifier you might have in your home. The main intention is to provide a source of air that has a higher concentration of humidity than the ambient surroundings. 

These units function by adding extra moisture to the air as it circulates within the machine. This air is then passed through a tube via an internal fan until it reaches your nose and mouth. 

The majority of humidifiers are heated, as warm air can hold more moisture when compared to cooler air. So, CPAP humidifiers will normally provide you with the ability to control heat and moisture levels in the event that the air becomes too warm. It is therefore easy to adjust these machines in accordance with personal tastes. 

As the main purpose of these humidifiers is to deliver air to an individual (instead of an entire room), they are extremely small. Some models can even be used when traveling. 

Built-in humidifiers are part of the CPAP machine and cannot be removed. Should maintenance or repairs be required, the owner must work with a trained service professional. The ResMed Airsense 10 is a well-known example of a built-in humidifier. 

How to Care for a Humidifier

Although humidifiers are extremely advanced, it is still important to remember that maintenance is a concern. This helps to ensure that all parts function properly and ultimately, to extend the lifespan of the unit itself. 

There are several factors to take into account and here are the most crucial:

  • It is wise to clean the water reservoir on a daily basis in order to prevent a buildup of bacteria.
  • Wash this chamber by hand using warm water and common dishwasher soap unless the owner's manual directs otherwise.
  • Allow the reservoir to completely air dry before placing it back into the unit.
  • Replace the water chamber every 6 months

Humidifiers that are regularly maintained can function for years at a time without experiencing any major issues. 

Humidifiers: An Excellent Accessory for Sleep Apnea

While not everyone will require a humidifier to enjoy a restful night of sleep, many people feel that it dramatically enhances the effects of standard CPAP therapy. 

If you have been experiencing symptoms such as an itchy throat or a dry mouth, it is wise to speak with a sleep treatment specialist. You will be amazed with the options that are currently available.