CPAP Tips from FDA

The following is a
message from the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration. With the rising numbers of
elderly populations and those with chronic
health issues, the Home Healthcare field has
expanded significantly within the United States. Hi, I’m Rick Foucheux,
speaking on behalf of the Food and Drug
Administration. Patients are becoming more
and more dependent on medical technology to
maintain or improve their quality of life in order
to live as independently as possible. But they may have
difficulties handling and maintaining their devices,
as well as understanding the instructions
on how to use them. These factors, along with
using devices in different settings – at home, at
work, traveling, out in the yard, etc. – can
jeopardize patient safety. So, here are some helpful
tips for anyone using a CPAP or caring for
someone who does. The CPAP, or Continuous
Positive Airway Pressure device, is a widely used
device that can often be problematic to operate,
clean and maintain. It’s used for people who
have breathing problems, typically at night, which
is commonly known as “obstructive sleep apnea”. It occurs when soft tissue
in the back of your throat collapses and keeps you
from breathing normally. How your face mask fits
can affect the quality of your treatment. If the mask is too tight,
you may get sores around your mouth and nose. If the mask fits loosely,
air can leak out, causing your sleep to
be disrupted. So, if you have problems
with a mask that’s either too tight or too loose,
try adjusting the strap that fits around
your head. If you’re anxious about
wearing a mask for treatment, contact your
healthcare provider. They may recommend
additional supervised training or adjustment in
the size or model of your device. Never secure the straps of
the face mask too tightly on your face, and never
use tape to seal the mask to your face. And of course, keep
your mask clean! It’ll fit much
better if it is. Be sure to clean the
humidification chamber, too, since bacteria
could grow inside of it. And hang your hose up
between uses so all the condensed water vapor
drains out and the hose can properly dry. Using detergents that
contain conditioners or moisturizers to clean
your face mask may cause residue buildup, so follow
your manufacturer’s recommendations in the
labeling or package insert about the daily care and
storage of your device. The CPAP’s filters also
need to be cleaned. Washable foam filters need
to be cleaned as soon as you can see any
discoloration. The filters may need to
be cleaned or replaced frequently, even on a
weekly basis, if you have a lot of pet hair, dust,
smoke, or humidity in your home, so follow
your manufacturer’s recommendations for how
to replace any disposable filters. And, of course, children
should never play with your CPAP! They could misuse it,
change the settings, or get the device dirty – all
of which could cause a potential hazard to the
device or to themselves. It’s important to explain
to any child that this device is not a toy. Now, the CPAP is
prescribed to deliver a certain amount of air
flow into your body. This is called
the pressure. Never attempt to change
the pressure that your CPAP delivers. The pressure is prescribed
by your healthcare provider and is directly
related to your care. If you feel that that the
pressure is too little or too much, contact your
health care provider to discuss any changes in
the prescribed pressure. And contact your
health-care provider as soon as possible if
your breathing problems continue or worsen – but
DO NOT stop using your CPAP until you talk with
your healthcare provider. Knowing how to operate and
maintain your CPAP device is essential, so always
keep the following information about your
device available: The correct name of your
device. The name of the manufacturer of your device Contact information for your
healthcare provider or distributor of the device
and support systems in place for emergencies (loss of
power, battery failure, or malfunctions. If you have any problems,
report them to your healthcare provider, the
manufacturer, and the Food and Drug Administration. You can call FDA’s
Medwatch program at 1-800-FDA-1088. FDA receives reports of
device problems and will take any action if needed. You can report online by
completing the consumer form found at or through the home use devices website at Thank you.

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