The Complications of Traveling With Sleep Apnea Equipment
The most popular form of Sleep Apnea treatment is, by a landslide, the Positive Airway Pressure machine, especially CPAP. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machines are very commonly used by the 18 million Americans that suffer from Sleep Apnea disorders. The machines are convenient and easily used by patients in the comfort of their own home. Using a breathing assistance machine is also possible, however, away from the comforts of home. It has become relatively simple for apnea patients to travel with their Sleep Apnea machines, but there are a few things that patients should be aware of. There are a few different methods of traveling that are consistently popular: airplane, automobiles, boats, and public transportation like buses or trains. Each method of travel is possible with Sleep Apnea equipment like breathing machines.
Portable Sleep Apnea Equipment
A few short decades ago, it was hard for apnea sufferers to leave home for significant period time, but it was almost impossible to travel. CPAP machines built for home use are large and bulky. They are not exactly ideal for traveling. CPAP manufacturers, however, have developed portable CPAP equipment to accommodate travelers. Portable CPAP equipment is ideal for traveling due to its small size, light weight, and superior functionality. Most models of portable CPAP equipment are easy to carry around by yourself, but they still need to be protected from damage. CPAP distributors and manufacturers usually suggest carrying your equipment in a bag. The machine weights so little that it is possible to carry the bag right on your shoulder or back. Sleep Apnea patients who travel a great deal generally prefer to use one of the following models: the Phillips Respironics M Series, the PureSom CPAP Machine, the ProBasics Zzz-PAP CPAAP Machine, the AEIOMed Everest 2 Travel CPAP Machine, or the ResMed S8 AutoSet II.
Traveling by Airplane
When traveling with equipment by airplane, the very first step is to take is to check the regulations regarding Sleep Apnea equipment held by the airline you are going to travel with. When you check your airline’s regulations, a representative will be able to tell you if there have been any changes in the airport’s policies that could affect your traveling plans. CPAP users will have to submit to ample airport security screening; the machine will have to be checked for dangers before boarding. If your machine does not successfully pass x-ray inspection, further testing like explosive and chemical testing may be required. On an airplane, first class passengers are ensured power outlets at their seat. Business class passengers, however, may not be ensured a power outlet. You can check with the airline too find out which seats are available. Different planes are accommodated with different power sources, and your CPAP machine will have to be able to accommodate that power source. You may have to purchase special cables, power adaptors, or battery packs to make traveling by plane possible. TSA officers suggest that machine users bring their prescription or a letter for their doctor proving medical necessity when they travel. Carrying CPAP equipment on to the plane is completely free. It is not considered part of your carry-on luggage because it is necessary medical equipment. Most apnea patients who travel would urge against checking your Positive Airway Pressure Machine. The risk of loss or damage while onboard the plane is too high for most patients to risk. If you do, however, decide to check your machine, it might be a good idea to bring an oral device or mouthpiece on the plane with you, just in case you feel the urge to nap. Foreign Travel with Sleep Apnea Equipment When traveling internationally, keep in mind that different countries use different power sources. TheUnited States of America, as well asCanada, uses electrical circuits that operate at 110 volts of electricity and 50 Hz. Every country inEuropeuses circuits that operate on levels of 220 to 240 volts of electricity and 50 Hz. Most new models of CPAP machines are built with universal power suppliers. Universal adaptors make it possible to adjust your CPAP machine to different voltage requirements instantly and easily. If your machine is not equipped with a universal adaptor, don’t get discouraged. You can purchase an adaptor or converter separately. Talk to a DME distributor or a Sleep Apnea specialist to find out what specific accessories you may need for powering up your machine when you reach your destination.
Additional Tips for Traveling With CPAP:
- If you are traveling by bus, car, boat, train, or any other methods that do not allow you to use electricity, there are numerous battery options available for your convenience. For extended periods of use without electricity, many patients use a deep cycle marine battery that includes a sine wave inverter. Remember that airlines prohibited the use of Lithium batteries during air travel in 2008.
- Attach a tag to the bag carrying your CPAP machine that identifies what the bag contains.
- When going through airport security, it is completely understandable to ask the TSA agent to change their gloves and clean the table upon which the inspection of your machine will take place. It is important to prevent the spreading of bacteria and germs.
- When traveling, take documentation that includes the serial number and model of your machine. Being prepared for theft will help prevent it.
- Don’t forget to remove any liquids from your CPAP machine if you are packing it away for travel.
- Become familiar with the Americans with Disabilities Act so that you may refer to it if problems arise during travel.
- If your method of transportation or your destination location does not provide distilled water, take some with you. It is possible to use bottled or tap water in your machine for limited periods of time, but extended use of tap water can cause mineral deposits to build up in you apnea machine.
- If possible, take another treatment method with you…just in case. If, for any reason, you are unable to use your apnea equipment during travel, it would be beneficial to have an oral appliance to help fight off nightly symptoms.