A runny nose, near-constant sneezing, and distracting itchy feelings are the hallmarks of seasonal allergies. You may already be dreading the coming of fall because even though seasonal allergy symptoms are predictable, they are not always easy to eliminate.
What to Look Out for This Fall Allergy Season
Allergies can affect individuals at any time of the year and can be traced to such substances as pet hair, dander, mold, or dust mites. However, there are also seasonal allergies that people will tend to experience at specific times of the year, such as in the fall, which is fast approaching. If you are a patient with sleep apnea, there are steps you can take to help transition your CPAP for fall use.
Unlike allergies that tend to take place in the springtime because of tree pollen or those allergies that appear in the summer because of weed and grass pollen, the majority of allergies that take place in the fall tend to be caused by ragweed.
If your body tends to react to substances that don’t give other people symptoms, you have an allergy. The material you are allergic to is known as an allergen. In response to allergens, you release histamines, which also lead to familiar symptoms such as sneezing, itchy sensations in your nose, mouth, eyes, and throat. You will not get a fever from allergies, which helps to distinguish allergies from a cold or flu. Symptoms can persist for several weeks during allergy seasons.
How to Manage Seasonal Allergies With Your CPAP
For people who suffer from allergies, the symptoms can make it harder to feel comfortable and get a good night’s sleep. This is particularly a concern for individuals who use a CPAP machine. However, you can improve your situation and get more restorative rest by the following tips below to combat season allergies while using a CPAP machine.
1. Try a Humidifier
One of the chief problems of fall allergies is how they can cause dryness in the mouth, along with nasal congestion. Warmer, moister air is a great way to combat this problem. This is why people often take long, hot showers to get plenty of steam to cope with allergy symptoms. You can use a humidifier in rooms you spend a lot of time in, especially the bedroom. But your CPAP machine can also help by adding moisture to the air you breathe at night.
A CPAP machine’s humidifier tank can be quite beneficial when you are suffering from seasonal allergies this fall. If it’s been a while since you’ve used the humidifier (or if you have no experience with a CPAP humidifier), remember to thoroughly clean it with hot water before use, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
It’s best to pour only distilled water in the humidifier tank, because standard tap water contains suspended minerals that can accumulate and build up in the tank, reducing how long your equipment will be useful.
Try a lower setting if you are not familiar with humidified CPAP therapy. You can always increase the humidity level until you find the optimal level for you as you sleep with allergies.
Be aware that with higher humidifier settings, you may experience some water condensing inside the tube. This often happens in colder rooms. If this becomes an issue, try reducing the humidity settings or using heated tubing to connect the sleep apnea mask with the CPAP machine.
2. Replace All CPAP Supplies
You need to periodically replace CPAP supplies, which include your mask, flexible hose, filters, and any removable humidifier tank. Check our handy schedule for tips on when to replace your CPAP supplies.
After prolonged use of disposable equipment like a mask or tube, it will be harder to keep clean, and eventually, the materials will wear out, which is why they need regular replacement. Putting in new filters before the start of the fall allergy season will go a long way toward helping you breathe cleaner air, and therefore you can anticipate getting better sleep.
Even if you don’t suffer from seasonal allergies, you should always clean your mask and tubing and order replacement parts regularly for best use of your CPAP.
3. Consider Anti-Allergy Medications
Sometimes patients will need to use medication to address their seasonal allergy symptoms. It’s prudent to consult with your doctor or pharmacist first, to make sure there are no contraindications of the allergy medicine and any other prescription or over the counter medications you are already taking.
You might find it useful to take an antihistamine (in the form of pills). For other patients, an over the counter steroid nasal spray may do the trick.
People who cannot take allergy medications or who find that traditional medicines don’t provide the relief they need can try using a neti pot, which is used for nasal irrigation. After mixing warm water with baking soda and salt according to the manufacturer’s instructions (or buying a premade nasal rinse), you stand and tilt your head back. Then, you pour the liquid from a neti pot into one nostril and let it flow out of the other nostril into a sink, removing allergens to bring you some natural relief.
Don’t let allergies get in the way of having a great night’s rest. Be sure to keep your sleeping space clean while using the right CPAP equipment for ultimate comfort.
CPAP.com is a family-owned and operated business dedicated to providing affordable sleep apnea equipment to those who need sleep therapy. The CPAP team strives to provide insightful and meaningful information to its audience, keeping you in the know on the latest happenings in the sleep health and respiratory world.