With the increase in the ability to diagnose and treat obstructive sleep apnea a new group of issues have come into play for many people.  It is time to take the family vacation or on a business trip and you wonder do you have to bring this machine with you?  If you do what do you need to know to make traveling with it easier?   

The first question of whether or not you need to bring it with you is relatively easy to answer.  CPAP and BIPAP do not cure sleep apnea they treat it.  Just like medication, you should not stop using it without a doctor’s order.  As soon as you stop using it your symptoms will reappear.  Keep in mind that the fatigue which may have brought you to the sleep lab may not come back quickly because you are no as sleep deprived as you were before you were treated.  However, the issues of low oxygen levels and the fact that you stop breathing and your snoring will come back when you do not use your therapy.  If you are sharing a room, this can be quite troublesome for yourself or your room mates.   

When packing up your PAP machine there are a couple of things to keep in mind.  The first is that it is important that you empty the humidifier.  Many people forget this step and upon arriving at their destination they find a waterlogged machine.  If the humidifier is separate from the machine you should still take it with you.  Nasal congestion can be a problem when you travel and the humidifier will help to limit issues you might have with congestion and drying of the mouth and nose. 


When you are flying it is essential that your machine be a carry on.  The change in pressure in the baggage compartment is not healthy for your machine.  With most airlines, because it is medical equipment, it will not count as your one carry on luggage.  You should have no problem making it through security because they are quite familiar with CPAP machines.  Just take it out of the carry on case like you would a computer.  In some airlines if you are taking a long flight and you are traveling first class or business class there may be electrical plugs that you can plug your machine in and wear if you plan on sleeping.   

If you are traveling to a high altitude some of the older CPAP machines have an adjustment that you can set to deal with the change in pressure.  Other machines have internal sensors that will make this adjustment for you.   

Camping with your machine may be one of the most interesting issues that you may to deal with.  If the campground has electricity then this is not an issue.  If you are going to be somewhere a little more rural and you camp on a regular basis you might want to look at a machine that has a back up battery pack for it.   

It is always important to enjoy yourself when you are taking a vacation.  If you do not sleep well then you may miss out on the enjoyment of your trip.  With a small amount of planning using you CPAP will allow you and your family or friends to be well rested for the next day’s activities.


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