I have to take a business trip which isn’t out of the ordinary. But since my last trip, I have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. The doctor has issued me a CPAP machine and I just can’t figure out how I will carry this thing on board. I want to have it with me. Do you have any advice because I don’t want to be heard snoring like crazy and I refuse to check it.
– Will in Maryland
You are allowed to travel with your CPAP machine even though it feels like a major inconvenience. As a carry-on item it will need to be screened and checked by the airport security. One thing to consider is to bring sanitizing wipes along with you because the screening area at the airport is likely unsanitary.
The main thing you need to consider because you have obstructive sleep apnea is that there is a power outlet available near your seat. Also, make sure you travel with the correct adapter. If possible, make these arrangements ahead of time by contacting your airline. This will save you time and frustration the day of your flight. With heightened security, you may also have difficulty carrying on distilled water for the machine. So you would be wise to travel with the prescription from your physician. This way you will be able to travel with distilled water in a pharmaceutical grade bottle.
If your travel picks up again and you want to alleviate lugging around the bulky, loud CPAP, talk to your doctor or visit a dentist that is experienced in treating sleep apnea. A dentist may be able to fit you for an oral appliance which you simply pop into your mouth before you fall asleep. It is customized to fit your mouth and moves your jaw into a more favorable position. This appliance keeps your airway unobstructed during sleep. This will save you a lot of hassle and will eliminate the need for the CPAP for travel and in many cases, patients prefer the oral appliance and stop using the CPAP altogether.
But if you are uncomfortable leaving the CPAP behind, be sure to plan ahead to avoid any complications.