So you have a cold

We all get them, but should you still use your PAP device?  Absolutely, if you can.  Following are some tips to help you with using the device while you have a cold.

Pharmaceuticals & Therapies

There are a plethora of drugs on the market for helping with colds.  You will obviously want to consult with your physician about which one is right for you.  Here we will talk about a few of the over the counter drugs that may help.  The first type of drugs are the nasal decongestants.  These are drugs like psudoephedrine and phenylephine.  These types of drugs should help alleviate your congestion, but they can have a stimulating effect which may keep you awake.  Some have long acting slow release versions that you can take well before bedtime to help offset some of the stimulant effect.

Another medication that patients have found helpful are the guaifenesin family of products.  These are sold under a plethora of brand names but the most common tend to be Robitussin and Mucinex.  This product is a mucus thinner and helps you with more effectively getting the mucus out of your system.  These can be very helpful in helping you effectively use your PAP device when you have a cold.  Make sure that you take them with plenty of water and drink plenty of water while you are on them for the highest level of effectiveness.

Cough suppressants are another product that some people consider using if their congestion has lead to excessive coughing.  One should be careful when using cough suppressants as they are generally regarded as respiratory suppressants and can suppress respiratory drive.  They can be an effective tool for helping control a cough, and should be used if your doctor recommends them.

downloadNext we have the nasal rinses.  Nasal rinses involve physically washing out your nasal cavity with a saline based solution.  It is VERY important that you use these only with distilled water.  People have died from using tap water with these things.  These are widely regarded as unpleasant by people who have never used them, but the reality is that they are very easy to do, and should not be painful.  They are very effective, and you would want to perform the rinse about twenty to thirty minutes before bed time.  Make sure you give your nose plenty of time to get rid of the excess water.

The reality is there may be a night or two per year that you may not be able to use your machine because of congestion.  You were going to be miserable on these nights anyway.  You should use your PAP device every night you are able to.  It is prolonging your life and reducing the negative effects of sleep apnea on your body during the time that you are using it.  One should never discontinue use of a PAP therapy device without discussing it with their physician.