Why does my CPAP give me a runny nose?

This question was asked in East Northport, New York on .
Whenever I use my CPAP I get a runny nose and a lot of mucus build up and it’s not because I’m sick. What’s happening? Is there something I can do to stop the nasal congestion because other than that, the CPAP is helping me sleep better.

Doctors Answers (4)

J. Douglas Hudson, MD, DABSM
Answered on: 7/23/2013

CPAP therapy may result in a "runny nose" due to the mucous membranes in the nose reacting to the irritation of the air. This is not very common but does occur, obviously. It would be akin to the eye watering when exposed to wind. I would suggest that you try either an over the counter agent such as AYR gel or spray OR a nasal steroid spray to reduce the "inflammatory" response.

Jeannine Louise Gingras, MD
Answered on: 7/19/2013

Increase the humidity, then seek advise from a sleep physician if not resolved.

SomnoDiagnostics, Inc.
Answered on: 7/19/2013

The first thing is to adjust your humidifier. Hopefully, you are using a heated humidifier. If you are, then increase the humidity setting to a higher number, which will increase the humidity. Be on the lookout however for water collecting in your hose. If water collects in your hose, adjust slightly to a lower number. There are also heated hoses available for the newer model machines and that may be a help to you also.

Courtney Whitney, DO
Answered on: 7/19/2013

If you don't use a humidifier with your CPAP that would be a very good first place to start. Humidity will help thin any mucus in your nasal passage ways. CPAP can sometimes cause some nasal irritation or you might have post nasal drip that the CPAP isn't causing, but makes it more noticeable.