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Head Cold from CPAP?
OK I'm a CPAP newbie, and I tried to keep my mask on for a few hours yesterday to try and get used the the feeling of being suffocated. Today I woke up with an earache and a sinus issue, which I NEVER get. Could this have been caused by my mask? If so, what can I do to prevent this from happening???? It seems like a lot of times when I open my mouth to swallow, etc. it sends a burst of air to my sinuses and ears. I know I'm not supposed to open my mouth, but that's very hard to do! HELP! Sleep-well Cold
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Hiya Vailgal

Welcome to the forum. I use a soft cervical collar to help stop my chin from tucking (to reduce OSAa) and also to help keep my mouth closed. There is also this -what we call -the tongue trick i.e. pressing your tongue to the roof of your mouth. Too much leaks with mouth breathing will affect the efficacy of your therapy.

Despite having a heated tube and heated humidifier I do get the annoyance of cold air blowing into my head, it seems. And yes I think I get some head colds from CPAP when I am run down and already vulnerable to infection, especially when the nights get colder.

It would be good to know if others suffer the same.

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The lower pressure of 4 makes a lot of use feel like we are suficating. The feeling stops about pressure of 6.
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I started with a pressure of 5; I didn't feel like I was suffocating precisely, but I felt I had to suck in the air I wanted. I stepped it up to 6 and eventually 8, and the feeling went away. Six is a good starting point for most adults.
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Just a heads up. Colds are from viruses not CPAP.   Big Grin
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I guess I shouldn't have called it a "cold", because I felt better after a whole day of not trying the CPAP again. It's more of a fullness/achiness in my ears and back of my throat, sort of like the feeling you get when you swim underwater for a while. I'm almost afraid to try the mask again, but I'm determined to give it my all.

Thanks for all your comments. It's hard being out here by myself, with no doctor to ask questions or concur with.

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First try lowering the humidity. You do that by going to manual. I would start at a setting of 3 and work down to 2. If you are still having problems, make an appointment with an ENT. Cpap doesn't cause colds, but has been associated with some ear and sinus problems for some people or worsening a condition that was already there. I found the head congestion went away by lowering the humidity. You just have to change it throughout the year because temperatures and humidity change throughout the year unless you are in a sealed environment (some apartments are like this).
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Hi vailgal,
I'm just recovering from a dreadful chest infection which became a head cold, which then became sinus.  Felt dreadful for 4 weeks.  I don't think it was the flu as I didn't have any aches & pains, tho my cough nearly made me black out.
Until I was put onto cpap I hadn't had a cold for 13 years.  Seriously.  After cpap I've had a bad chest cold 2 years in a row.  Before cpap I had NEVER had a chest cold, I think the cpap pushes infected phlegm into the chest.  So many say it doesn't, but I'm not so sure.
There are some great pressure points on the face for sinus relief which really work for me showed to be by a naturopath.  However, if the masks & headgear press or even touch some places on my nose, it blocks my nostrils.  I have a bent septum.
I guess it all points to you thoroughly understanding how something different in your health regime can have an unwanted effect.  Knowing oneself is such a benefit.  Just some observations which might be worth thinking about.
Oh, & another 1 - I'm going to gargle that whiskey if it kills me, the next time I feel a cold coming on !!
Cheers & good luck - 
Mrs. Magoo
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(08-07-2017, 06:44 PM)Walla Walla Wrote: Just a heads up. Colds are from viruses not CPAP.   Big Grin

Yes they are, but if there is one floating around it is bound to end up sucked into the machine and right up your nose Rolleyes 
That does not mean you will catch a cold or flue from it though, if you are unlucky like me you will.

HI vailgal,

Earache and a sinus issue.  CPAP can be a bit hard on the sinuses at the start of treatment.  I had a lot of bother with sinuses before I got a humidifier.  I had to keep turning it up until I stopped getting bothered with sore nostrils and sinuses.
The ears, nostrils and throat are all interlinked, so if you get an infection it may affect the others.  Also, it is possible for some people to get a drumming noise in their ears from CPAP at higher pressures, sometimes if you swallow and turn over to lay on the affected ear this stops, however, I think you are talking about pain.  It is possible that the CPAP might be affecting it by spreading things to where it would not normally get to.  However, as you are new there is a learning curve to these things.  CPAP in itself will not give you a cold, it is just a lot more noticeable when you have even a slight cold.  It can be very uncomfortable trying to use a mask with a cold.  I don't think anyone gets used to having a cold using CPAP, however, they do get used to it.  I put a vapour thing down near the air intake if I am very bad, but do not put it into the humidifier chamber, it just makes one hell of a mess and cam screw up silicone seals.
I know people that use foam earplugs to help with their ears if they pop or make a noise when using CPAP, though this is not what you are experiencing.
Treat it like any other cold, but be careful using vapour rubs and do not put it in the humidifier or up your nose.
It is very hard on the nostrils when you first start CPAP, however, you will get used to it.
Here is the UK we can get sprays and creams to help that do not affect the silicone of the masks.
I don't know if you can get them where you are, but I suppose you will get something similar.
Welcome to the forum.

Stand by for more answers.

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hello Vailgal-

I believe your query was posted a while ago, but if you have not had any great luck since then, I'll give you a bit of my experience.

I started CPAP use with a nasal mask, used it successfully for 4 months, switched to dreamwear gel, used it for 3 weeks, and then started getting massive, unilateral, upper teeth/cheek pain, as well as ear pain. I saw several dentists/endodontists/ENT drs, who ruled out tooth/sinus infections. I dinked around with humidity/temperature settings, to no avail. In frustration I stopped the CPAP for a week and the pains stopped, too. then I started over again with the Wisp nasal cushion mask.  

The Wisp appears to have solved the problem. (I am also careful to use neilmed sinus rinse, nasal steroid spray, ayr gel, most nights.) 
I think the dreamwear air delivery was just too harsh for my head configuration. My 95% pressure is around 12.

BTW, i dont feel like i'm suffocating with the Wisp, but I definitely had that feeling with the dreamwear. So I would say something is not right if you dont feel comfortable with the air delivery.

Hope this helps.
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