If you’re planning a trip, you can’t afford to not have a sleep apnea treatment. The poor sleep you get, the morning headaches, and the low energy all day caused by your sleep apnea can ruin your trip, whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure. But CPAP can be a major hassle when you travel. Here’s some advice for overcoming these hassles to get your CPAP to your destination.

Or you can consider a more convenient and easy-to-transport oral appliance for travel. Detroit sleep dentist Dr. Jeffrey S. Haddad can help you get a convenient CPAP alternative for travel.

woman laying on her side with a bulky CPAP mask on

Getting CPAP Through Security

In order to make sure you have your CPAP machine at your destination, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recommends that you keep your CPAP in your carry-on luggage. Put it in a plastic bag to help avoid contamination. But you need to be prepared for extra security at Detroit Metro.

The TSA says that x-rays don’t always penetrate CPAP machines. You will likely have to have the machine inspected by hand. You can ask that inspectors clean the surface where they will perform the inspection and put on fresh gloves before they inspect your CPAP machine. Remember, all bacteria on the CPAP gets pumped directly into your lungs, so additional caution to keep it clean is recommended.

Powering CPAP on the Plane

If you’re taking a long flight overseas (flights from Detroit go direct to Europe, Asia, and the Middle East), you’ll probably want to sleep on the plane, which means you’ll want to use your CPAP. There are battery-operated portable CPAP options, but not everyone is happy with these. (Sometimes, the pressure is limited, and it may not support all your accessories.) Also, you might want to save your battery for when you really get away from power at your destination.

To ensure you’ll have power on your flight, you can use a tool like SeatGuru, which will show whether your seat will have an outlet for your CPAP. (Note: the SeatGuru mobile app is no longer available, but the same information is available on the website, which is mobile-friendly.)

Powering CPAP at Your Destination

Before you leave Detroit, make sure your CPAP is compatible with the power at your destination. The CPAP machine should have a label on it that tells the acceptable power inputs. Check both the voltage and the hertz (Hz) to make sure they’re compatible with the power generated at your destination. A mismatch can lead to an inoperable CPAP or may damage the machine. If your CPAP doesn’t match the power at your destination, talk to your supplier about adapters.

You should also check the style of the outlet at your destination. If it doesn’t match those we use in the US, you can find simple adapters at most travel stores.

Check on the power grid at your destination.  Is it reliable or plagued with frequent outages or fluctuations? If the power is unreliable, make sure you have a battery backup that will kick in automatically, or just use a battery-operated CPAP machine. Also, be aware that if you’re traveling on a boat or in an RV, a CPAP machine can be a significant drain on the power supply. Unless you’re running a generator or engine, using your CPAP overnight can lead to dead batteries in the morning. Having a separate battery-operated CPAP might be the best choice in these situations.

Of course, you need a battery-operated CPAP if you’re going to be in anyplace you can’t easily plug in, such as camping in the backcountry.

If you’re using a battery-operated CPAP, ensure you bring enough batteries if you don’t think you’ll have access to a good supply.

Cleaning CPAP at Your Destination

Because bacteria on your CPAP machine are pumped right into your lungs, a dirty CPAP machine can put you at increased risk of catching a serious illness. So it’s important to keep your machine clean when you travel.

Clean your CPAP more frequently than you do at home, but you can use the same recommended cleaning technique. It’s best to bring cleaning supplies with you–don’t count on being able to find suitable soap at your destination. And when it comes to water, if you can’t drink the water at your destination, don’t use it to clean your CPAP.

Hate Traveling with CPAP?

People in Detroit find that traveling with CPAP causes many problems, which leads to:

Added Stress

Travel can be stressful enough, especially these days. You don’t need the added stress caused by a CPAP machine. Extra stress about security checkpoints, losing your CPAP (or having it stolen), damaging your CPAP, or having trouble cleaning the machine can all make it harder to have a fun vacation or productive business trip.

Added Difficulty

It’s harder to travel with CPAP. Lugging the machine around with you everywhere is extra work (not to mention the batteries for backup power). You might also have trouble finding proper water to clean your machine with. Then there’s the problem of arranging your sleeping situation so you can actually use your CPAP. You have to find an outlet and somewhere to put the machine near your bed.

Worse Sleep

In the end, you might also experience worse sleep because of these CPAP-related problems. Can’t find the time or proper water to clean your CPAP? You’re more likely to skip using your CPAP. Power failures and run-down batteries can also lead to you sleeping without CPAP for much of the night, which means you’ll be getting worse sleep many nights. That’s not good for your trip, and it’s not good for your health.

Get a More Convenient Travel Option in Detroit

But if you don’t like the thought of dealing with all these hassles of CPAP when you travel, you can always switch to an oral appliance for your sleep apnea treatment. Oral appliances are easily portable and likely won’t require additional screening at the airport. They don’t need power on the plane or at your destination. And they’re easier to clean.

Plus, the extra comfort and ease of use can be helpful when you’re sleeping in a strange place where your CPAP anxiety might become more pronounced and harder to deal with.

Want to learn whether you’re a good candidate for a sleep apnea appliance in Detroit? Please call (248) 480-0085 today for an appointment with sleep dentist Dr. Jeffrey S. Haddad at the Michigan Center for TMJ & Sleep Wellness, serving the Detroit area from Rochester Hills near the Sanctuary Lakes Golf Course.