Tips for Using a CPAP Machine if you Have Nasal Congestion / Stuffy Nose

Topics: CPAP Device, CPAP Machine, obstructive sleep apnea

Nasal congestion/Stuffy Nose resulting from allergy or cold can make it difficult for you to breathe, even in normal circumstances. The situation is worse for patients with congested noses who must sleep with a CPAP mask. Used for treating sleep apnea, a CPAP device delivers pressurised air through a tube and face mask and opens up obstructions in the airway.

Tips for using CPAP Machine with Nasal Congestion.

For sleep apnea patients dealing with a stuffy nose, inhaling and exhaling through a mask can be uncomfortable. So, is there a way of lessening the unease for CPAP patients suffering from a congested nose? To know the details, read further!

Why nasal congestion makes it hard to breathe through a CPAP machine?

A CPAP machine cannot work effectively if you have a respiratory illness that impedes breathing. The device is designed to deliver a stream of air and open up obstructions in the otherwise normally functioning lungs. But if you have upper respiratory infections like common cold or influenza, using CPAP can be difficult. It is so because of:

  • A runny nose can make it hard for you to breathe with a nasal mask
  • The discharge of mucus can contaminate the CPAP mask and introduce the risk of secondary infection
  • A stuffy nose can result in mouth breathing, reducing the effectiveness of CPAP therapy for patients wearing a nasal or pillow mask

How can you continue using CPAP therapy if you have nasal congestion?

If you are a CPAP user dealing with nasal congestion, you should try these tips to seek relief instead of giving up on the treatment. Here you go!

1. Use a Humidifier

Patients who have Stuffy nose should try a humidifier. There are a couple of options available in the market for you to pick from. You can either go for a typical room humidifier to raise the moisture in the room or opt for a humidifier attachment for your CPAP machine to add dampness to the tubing. Before making the final choice, seek your healthcare expert's advice to make the best decision.

2. Heated Tubing

Using heated CPAP tubing helps maintain the temperature of warm air as it travels from the heated humidifier through the tubing to the mask and into the airway. Otherwise, you will have to breathe in the cold air. Also, since cool air can lead to condensation in tubing, which can fill your mask with water, you should be extra careful.

3. Full Face Mask

While most people opt for nasal masks because of their smaller size, the full-face masks are also quite efficient, especially if you need to address specific concerns. A full-face mask can cover your mouth and nose, making it a more comfortable choice for dryer climates. It is so because it is easy for patients to breathe when both passages are covered. You can also opt to use a full-facial mask when you have a congested nose and go with a nasal mask when you are feeling fine.

4. CPAP Filtration

Keeping your CPAP filter clean is vital for breathing easily. Also, if the congestion is due to a cold, it is recommended to use a clean and hygienic filter free of germs and bacteria to encourage a quick recovery. So, make sure to wash your machine at least once a week with water and allow it to dry completely before re-using it.

5. Medicines and Saline Sprays

To continue using a CPAP machine when you have stuffy nose, try saline sprays or neti-pot. They are inexpensive and effective and can reduce congestion and irritation in the nasal passages.
You can also try selective or non-selective antihistamines for treating nasal congestion resulting from allergies. There are also nasal steroids available in the market that could help.


Using a CPAP machine can help in managing sleep apnea. But, if your nose is congested, then breathing through the CPAP mask can feel like an impossible task. So, the next time you have a stuffy nose and are preparing to go to bed to put on your CPAP mask, remember the tips mentioned above!


You may want to know how to Use CPAP Machine for better sleepPortable CPAP Machine for Travel, and How to Clean CPAP Machine.

Disclaimer: The facts and information contained in this article are obtained from reputed medical research organisations and do not necessarily reflect the opinions & beliefs of ResMed. The content here should not be taken as medical advice. The content is for informational purposes only, and because each person is unique, please consult a healthcare professional for any medical queries.

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