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Frequently Asked Questions: Helpful Hints and Troubleshooting

PAP is one of the most effective treatments for obstructive sleep apnea. Like anything else, there can be minor problems that may need special attention. The following is a list of possible problems that may occur.


Nasal Discomfort

Nasal stuffiness is a common complaint of patients with PAP. It may initially occur when you are first introduced to the PAP and are getting used to the airflow of the PAP machine. The stuffiness will disappear soon. Oftentimes, nasal discomfort is helped by applying a few drops of nasal saline solution in each nostril before bed. Adjusting the humidity on your attached humidifier may be another source of relief for nasal problems. 


Irritants drawn in with room air through the machine could cause allergies in some patients. To reduce this, place the PAP machine where dust and animal hair will stay out. Most machines are equipped with a humidifier which may also help to reduce allergens. A fine particulate filter can be added to some units. You can consult a respiratory therapist or your physician for further information. 

Cold Nose

Increase temperature of the room air. You may also place a blanket or towel over the tubing to warm the air.

Mask discomfort or redness of the face

•    Turn on PAP before applying mask.
•    Make sure mask is fitted properly; it should not be pressed too tightly to your face.
•    Make sure headgear and/or chinstrap is fitted properly.  
•    Regular cleaning of your mask with soapy water will help to reduce skin irritation
•    Water soluble lubricants or lotions may be used as a skin barrier if necessary. (Consult your physician.)

Adjusting your headgear for a proper fit

Facial muscles change when we lie down and further relax once we are asleep, so it is always best to fit the mask while you are in your sleeping position. If you sleep in a bed with no pillows, fit your mask like that. If you sleep in a recliner, fit your mask that way.

Feeling claustrophobic

Practice with your PAP machine during normal daily activities such as watching TV or reading. Start by wearing it for only a few minutes and gradually increase your time breathing on it The practice sessions in the daytime while relaxing may help overcome this feeling. It may take a little time to get used to, so please be patient and DON'T GIVE UP.

PAP machine makes too much noise

All PAP machines will make some noise. DO NOT cover your PAP machine; this will cause it to malfunction. To minimize noise, place the machine further away or under the bed and utilize a longer hose if necessary. Never place the PAP machine above your head while sleeping.

What to do if your PAP machine fails to run

•   Make sure PAP is plugged into an electrical outlet. Make sure the electrical outlet has power.
•   Make sure the ON/OFF switch is in the ON position.
•   Make sure the INLET AIR FILTER is clean and unblocked. Replace filters as needed.
•   Make sure the COOLING FAN is unblocked and a free flow of air is available.
•   Make sure tubing is not twisted and is securely connected.
•   If your machine still will not run, contact Optigen for assistance immediately.