CPAP Use with a "Head"Cold

  • Increase use of nasal saline irrigation (Nasamist, sinus rinse, etc.), especially just prior to CPAP use
  • Increase humidity/heat setting on CPAP to 4 or 5 (especially in winter months) 
    • Lower your household heat to 58-62 degrees at night 
    • Addition of room humidifier/vaporizer in the bedroom
  • Use ramp setting when you put on CPAP.
  • Start nasal steroids (ie: Flonase, Fluticasone, Nasonex, Rhinocort, Nasacort) or increase to twice daily – use after saline irrigation.
  • OTC neosynephrine -12hour (ie: Afrin or Dristan) for up to 4 nights, at bedtime only
  • OTC Zicam lozenges; use as directed on product label and within the 1st 24 to 48 hours of symptoms for greatest effect.
  • Vitamin C (500-1500mg/ day) either as a tablet or lozenge has been proven to decrease symptoms.
  • Elevate the head of the bed at least 30 degrees (ie; foam wedge, or raise mattress or bed frame)
  • Avoid pseudoephedrine/decongestants (ie: Sudafed, Afrin, Dristan, etc.) if known to cause insomnia or aggravate high blood pressure.
  • Avoid antihistamines as they provide little benefit and may worsen dryness or induce side effects such as sleepiness.
  • Call your primary care provider or our office if symptoms do not start to improve in one week, or with persistent colored phlegm, nasal discharge,  fever >101 F, or inability to use CPAP due to congestion.  

Updated 10/09 – CLR