The mask is the most personal part of a CPAP treatment. How do you prevent leakage or skin irritation, how to put on the mask?
Various things are essential to prevent leakage.
The right mask
A mask never becomes comfortable, but there is a suitable mask for every face, every sleeping behavior, and every preference. The sleeping center should ensure that you have an appropriate mask. If it does not work, you can go to the Apnea Association Flanders. We receive the most common masks from the suppliers that you can try.
The right size
Masks are available in different sizes. Make sure you have the right size. You can make the first estimate together with your partner or a third person. Put the mask on loosely. Take a good look in the mirror from the front and have the partner assessed. Is the mask well over the nose – and with a nose and mouth mask also over the mouth – and does it fit with the lines and folds in your face?
The right adjustment
The adjustment of the mask is one of the most common problems. You can adjust the mask by tightening the bands around the head more or less tightly. Often work is done with Velcro. Sometimes the position of the support can also be tilted on the forehead. Because of a large number of masks, it is not easy to give general rules. However, it can be said that masks should not be too tight. In the case of masks with a gel edge, the edge must connect properly, but must not be pressed flat or inwards. For masks with a (double) silicone edge, the air pressure must push these flaps into place. That does not work as well when the edge curls in completely. The most crucial starting point is uniformity. This applies both to the tightness of the tires and to the position of the headrest (if the mask has an adjustable headrest). You can also check this yourself. Put on the mask loosely, let the partner look sideways, and assess together whether the mask follows the lines of the face evenly. Make a few grimaces and watch the mask fall. First, adjust the head restraint and then the bands so that the mask follows the face at a uniform distance.
The right use
Grease on the sealing edges of the mask causes easy leakage. The parts of the mask that touch the face should, therefore, be cleaned every day. Skin oils and any creams used during the day are used here. Do not grease your skin at the sealing edges of the mask at night. A dishwasher without lemon is an excellent cleaning agent for the mask. Many people also use baby shampoo.
Condensation can also cause leakage. Look for tips on preventing condensation during humidification.
A good setup
It is essential that the hose does not pull on the mask when turning from one side to the other. Make sure that the hose comes from above or below. With some masks, you can fasten the hose upwards with Velcro.
Set up the mask
Virtually all masks have quick coupling clips. The easiest way to set up a mask is to release one of the lower clips, pull the mask over the head with the headband and then attach the last clip.
A nasal mask or a nose and mouth mask setting is easiest by releasing one of the lower terminals of the headband. Then place the mask on the face and pull the straps over the head until it is in the right place. Finally, secure the straps completely to the mask.
For nose caps, it is best first to put the straps on the back of the head and then lift the nose caps over the head and place them under the nose.
With a mouth mask, you first loosen the mouthpiece as far as possible, then place the inner part in the mouth and finally tighten the mouthpiece so that it is comfortable and no leakage occurs.
The following applies to all nose and full face masks with soft plastic sealing edges: press the edges in after inserting the cap before putting the cap on.
Some people regularly breathe through the mouth at night. The therapy does not work with a nasal mask. A Full Face mask is then the preferred alternative. But some people find that difficult. You can also try a chin strap. This keeps the jaw and therefore usually the mouth closed. There is no guarantee of success. Sometimes it helps fine.
Tips for preventing skin irritation
Do you get a rash through the mask? Perhaps a tailor-made, perforated piece of natural chamois between your skin and mask offers a solution.
If forehead support irritation, then make-up pads or a make-up sponge can offer a solution by placing these between the skin and the supports.
In ‘beginner irritation,’ the smelting of Sudocrème can also strengthen the skin.
Pressure spots (or tendency to decubitis) can be prevented by pulling a pantyhose over the mask. This is recommended in allergic reactions.
- Balneum Intensive: with a skin that is red but still intact
- Sudo cream: a skin that is still intact, but red and painful and sometimes with pimple-heads
- BioForce from Doctor Vogel: a skin with chapped areas, fungal spots, pressure spots or inflammations
- Calendula from VSM: jelly, spray or ointment: for inflamed skin due to pressure spots, sometimes blistering occurs
- Eucerin cream: to keep healthy skin in good condition.
Pay attention! You grease ointment during the day. Oily skin and a greasy edge of the mask are guaranteed to leak.