Posted by Genna Nielsen on Jun 3rd 2021

Dry Nose and Throat Blog

Solutions to a Dry Nose and Throat Caused by the CPAP Machine

Whether you're a seasoned CPAP user or just starting out, chances are that you will run into the issue of dryness. Dryness is one of the simpler issues to correct. When you use your CPAP(Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine the pressure can dry you out. It’s important to have humidity, so you don’t cause drying, cracking nose bleeds and/or sore throat.

Increasing your humidity setting

Correcting the dryness with the adjustment of your humidity setting is the first step to adding more humidity. We have a natural humidity level in the nasal cavity, and oral pharynx. To increase the humidity level on your CPAP, it’s recommended to go up by one number. So if your machine is currently set at 3 and you're dry, increasing it 4 should help. However, if you increase your humidity setting too high you can get water in your tube. You will discover this with the sound of gurgling or popping in the tubing. If this occurs, disconnect the tubing and take it to a sink to drain.

Are you using the right style mask?

Using the wrong style mask for you can have you running into dryness issues. Many people like to use the nasal pillow style mask, however the pillows give you direct pressure up and into the nasal cavity. Which can cause severe dryness. Using a nasal or full face mask may be a better option. Having more surface area helps to eliminate the severe dryness.

Breathing through your mouth?

Mouth breathing can cause mouth dryness, along with a sore throat. If you are using a nasal style mask you need to keep your mouth closed to prevent losing pressure, however that is easier said than done. Most patients will discover they are mouth breathers when waking up to an extremely dry mouth. The solution is increasing your humidity. However if the issue continues switching to a full face mask may be the best solution or using a chin strap with the nasal mask.

Still have a dry mouth?

Do you have a dry mouth even after increasing your humidity setting, and switching to a full face mask? If your answer is yes, you may want to take a look at your mouth wash. Many mouthwashes have alcohol in them which can cause mouth dryness. There are mouthwashes on the market that do not have alcohol.

Nasal dryness even after increasing the humidity?

If you are finding that you're having nasal dryness with increasing humidity the next step would be to incorporate a nasal spray. Most providers recommend a normal saline spray before bed to help moisten the nasal cavity.

When all else fails

Solving nasal & throat dryness should be able to be solved with the suggestions provided. However, if the issue continues it is best to consult with your doctor. Many medications can cause dryness. Looking at the medications with your doctor may give you the answer for your dryness.