Just a short, but very important, article today on why we have to be careful what we use with our CPAP/BiPAP and Ventilation Therapy.
Firstly, I have to say how many positive uses petroleum jelly has, and we always have a tub of Vaseline in the cupboard for all the fantastic health and household remedies it is useful for. HOWEVER, we must make sure that we keep it away from our precious and expensive CPAP, BiPAP + Ventilator Masks, and it MUST NEVER be used with oxygen. Always check the ingredients of any cream, lotion or wipes you use that they don’t contain petroleum jelly, mineral oil, paraffin or alcohol. I sent a warning out to my monthly newsletter readers (you are welcome to sign up for these on the right-hand side at the Newsletter Sign-up Form) and am repeating myself here as a warning to others:-
I was recently horrified to be told by a customer that her clinician had told her to use Vaseline to help with skin soreness, as although there was a risk in damaging the mask, he told the customer it could be replaced. (I have since heard of several similar stories from customers). Apart from the fact that I consider this to be irresponsible advice for our cash-strapped NHS and to those of us who purchase our own masks, please be aware that this is not the only reason for not using any cream and lotion which contain petroleum jelly, paraffin or mineral oil. Lawrence E. Gibson, M.D., Dermatologist at The Mayo Clinic put out a warning a while ago about the risk of inhaling products like Vaseline as it can cause an accumulation of the jelly or oils into the lungs, leading to potentially serious inflammation such as Lipoid Pneumonia. You can read the full article on their site here….. Petroleum Jelly – Mayo Clinic. Bearing in mind we have pressurised air blown into us all night, I would guess the risk would be greater. This is why we stock the CPAP/BiPAP Therapy Cream which is safe for our masks and safe for us! Also, check the label of Vicks Vapo Rub, and you’ll see a warning not to place Vicks into the nostrils. The directions are to rub the ointment onto the chest, throat and back, or to follow their instructions for inhalation with hot water.
It goes without saying that petroleum jelly MUST NOT EVER BE USED WITH OXYGEN THERAPY, as it could make the oxygen flammable as well as blocking the oxygen port. The CPAP Therapy Cream (which consists of Aloe Vera, Emu Oil and Vitamins A & E) is suitable for oxygen users too, as I checked this out with the manufacturer before we started supplying it. If you are using the nasal pillows-type of masks, the cream can be inserted into the nostrils first, but also bear in mind that if you suffer from dry nasal passages and/or dry mouth and throat then a CPAP/BiPAP/Ventilator Humidifier will certainly help with this. (You may fall prey to ‘rainout’ from the humidier, which is when water leaks into the mask, but there are easy remedies for this – the Hose Covers and the Hose Lift. Oh, and remember, the hose should always be elevated with humidification, which the Hose Lift definitely helps with). The cream helps protect the skin with the mask on, but can also be used during the day to clear up any sore areas. Another bonus is that just a few weeks ago I had a bad sore on my wrist (my fault through keeping my wrist watch on in the shower). I used the cream several times during the day, and the following morning the weeping sore had dried up, and consequently healed. Perhaps the manufacturer should consider marketing it for other benefits!
Hope you’ve found this article helpful and please share it with other CPAP/BiPAP, Ventilator + Oxygen Users.
Best Wishes and Good Safe Sleep!