As the summer months approach and thoughts drift to vacation plans around the country and abroad, many people who have been treated for Obstructive Sleep Apnea with continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, may wonder how to maintain a healthy night’s sleep away from home.
Traveling by airline with a CPAP
Since 9/11 many restrictions have been put in place to increase security on airlines. One inconvenient measure has been the reduction of the number of bags allowed as carry-ons. This is one instance where having a CPAP machine and knowing your rights can come in very handy. The FAA classifies CPAP as a medically necessary device. This means that passengers are allowed to bring the machine and its bag on board as an extra carry-on. Savvy travelers can will find that CPAP bags, when well packed, can provide much needed valuable real estate in these times of $50 checked luggage. TSA handlers are generally well versed with CPAPs but may ask you to remove the machine from it’s bag for additionally screening, including swabbing for explosive residue, at the security checkpoints. If you happen to encounter an overzealous TSA agent that tries to make you check your CPAP, present them with this document issued by the Department of Transportation stating the machine is to be allowed through. An official note from your doctor showing medical necessity doesn’t hurt either, especially in foreign lands.
Most currently produced PAP machines from major manufacturers utilize international power supplies. This means they can automatically adjust for different voltages, such as 240, without the need for special equipment. This eliminates the danger of burning out a PAP while on vacation. However, travelers will still have to bring plug adapters along to fit into different sized wall outlets. And it is prudent to look up contact information for your CPAP manufacturer in the destination country. If something goes wrong with your machine, having a certified repair center nearby can mean the difference between a memorable vacation and a ruined trip.
Camping with CPAP
Many people think that having a CPAP will stop them enjoying outdoor trips such as camping , hunting, and hiking. But newer CPAP machines are very portable and easy to use without a constant power source. There are now reliable battery powered CPAP units that can be recharged on the road via car adapters. Depending on the pressure level used, these units can provide overnight power for several nights before needing a recharge. Don’t want to spring for another machine? No worries, universal battery packs are also available for most major CPAP machine models on the market. These batteries are small, long lasting, and utilize the latest in battery advances. And most major companies, such as Resmed and Respironics offer car cigarette lighter adapters which make RV or car camping with CPAP easy.
For more information about traveling with CPAP, contact a qualified DME provider like the ones at Oregon Sleep Associates.