Throat Irritation from CPAP

by Steve

I have had my cpap for almost a year and have had to stop using it several times due to a very irritated throat.

Is there anything that can be done about this problem? I use distilled water in my machine and set the level at 1.0


Throat irritation or sore throat is one of the most common CPAP side effects. Almost every sleep apnea patient with CPAP has throat irritation.

You didn't tell me what type of mask you have, so I will speak generally.

This problem is usually caused by "mouth leak" - If your mouth opens during sleep, much of the pressurized air going into the nose goes comes straight out again through the mouth.

So, if you are a mouth breather, this could be a problem. However, if you use a chin strap with your mask to keep your mouth closed while you sleep, you shouldn't feel the sore throat again.

Another solution is to use heated humidifier that fits your CPAP unit to moisten and warm the air blowing into your throat.

So, check if your humidifier can utilize heat to create moisture. The heat allows the air to hold more moisture and thus carries more effectively humidified air to airways.

Another tip is to fill the humidifier with crushed ice and just use it as a passive blow through and get cooler air that way. Some patients had success with this trick.

Many germs can take up residence in CPAP tubing, so your throat irritation can be a side effect from a virus. Did you go to your doctor to speak about this?

Anyway, you should clean every week your CPAP tubing, to prevent the germs entering your body and cause infections.

I hope it helps. Don't be afraid to comment back.

Remy Thierry
Founder of Sleep Apnea Guide

Comments for Throat Irritation from CPAP

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Aug 22, 2011
Remy Is Right
by: Angus

Sore throat is a very difficult thing to pinpoint but sleeping with your mouth closed is critical. If you have a bed mate, do they notice that you are leaking air through your mouth? (Of course since you are not snoring, they may be sleeping through your mouth leaks).

Also, many Doctors initially only prescribe passive unheated humidity. Heated humidity using only distilled water (sorry, the stuff out of the tap is filled with minerals that will ruin your humidifier and start growth to add to your sore throat).

Try what Remy has said and my tips and you will overcome the dry mouth, sore throat.

Good sleeping


Apr 10, 2018
Heated Humidifier Problem?
by: Female 1

My cpap has a heated humidifier. I add water every night up to the top water line. For some reason, during the night I wake up feeling I can't breathe & end up removing my mask & turning off my cpap machine. I then try to sleep without it (not very effectively).

In the morning, water in the machine is always used up to the lower water line and never below that line. I use a Resmed Air Sense 10. Has anyone experienced this problem? The part of the water chamber that reaches the water does not reach the second water line. Does this eliminate the humidity?

Sep 17, 2018
Dry irritated throat
by: Anonymous

When I use the full face mask (which I hate) with chin strap I still have a dry irritated throat. Humidity up all the way to 8 and temp at 81. I much prefer the nasal pillow with chin strap but air stil pops bubbles out of my mouth. Ready to give up.

Mar 31, 2019
Irritated throat
by: Bryan

I have a Resmed AirSense 10 and for the past couple of weeks my throat feels like it’s burning. I am not sure if my machine or the tubing does not heat up anymore? It feels like it doesn’t shoot out warm air like it used to. Can someone please help me? I use a N21 nasal mask, and I have not had any new supplies come in a couple of months.

Jun 23, 2019
Keep Your Mask Clean
by: Holly

I once had a irritated throat while using my mask. I discovered that as long as my mask is cleaned weekly, I had no more issues. The mask and hose should be cleaned with 2-3 tables spoons of white vinegar and hot water. Do a final rinse with just water. This simple, inexpensive method will keep your mask clean and your throat from being irritated.

Jan 12, 2020
Dry throat
by: Linda

I notice a couple have the Airsense 10. I have this machine and same problems. Use nasal pillows as well and mouth stays closed. Has anyone received good advice?

Apr 15, 2020
by: Kay from Ohio

Thank you for the comments re: throat sore throat from the CPAP machine. Have been on Loratadine and Montelukast for seasonal allergies. I thought the allergies were causing my sore throat so had a virtual office call with my doctor's office and they ordered Fluconazole and Amoxicillin thinking I had mouth thrush. My throat is still the same. Really hurts when I get up the morning and then tapers off. I get a lot of drainage and I noticed sometimes, there is blood when I blow my nose. I clean the mask every day in a So-Clean machine. Wondered if it could be the So-Clean machine. Have a very dry mouth. Am wondering if there is some kind of test that could tell me exactly what it is. I am really confused. Would appreciate any information. Thank you.

Jun 05, 2020
Using So Clean
by: Anonymous

I purchased So Clean over a year ago and I use it in conjunction with warm water and distilled vinegar on off days. I get a much cleaner feel from warm water and distilled vinegar. My throat seems less irritated as well.

Feb 27, 2021
Not just throat NEW
by: El in GA

Res Med 10; the Bleep DreamSleep not-mask system (it's BRILLIANT!). About every 3 days, I run an ozone cleaner that blows through the tube for 40 minutes. I use distilled water with about 1/4 tsp 13% (hospital grade, so no preservatives or additives like the OTC 3% stuff) hydrogen peroxide in the humidifier reservoir.

Over a couple weeks, humidity was set at 3, dropped it to 2, finally to 1.

When I start the machine at night, it BURNS my nares and my throat. Not heat, just painful, like abrasion. When I wake up in the morning, I have to blow my nose a LOT for the first 3/4 hour -- but, other than prodigious output, it's perfectly clear normal mucus; normal viscosity.

I can't face sleeping without the machine (in the home-test that got me the machine I was below 90% O2-sat for 37% of the night!!) but I also can't face the burning.

Oh, and tried using a neti pot to see if clearing my sinuses would help, in case that was causing the sensation of burning. No apparent relationship.

Feb 13, 2023
Dont NEW
by: Anonymous

Don't use hydrogen peroxide in your humidifier and stop using ozone.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Problems with CPAP.

Share this page:
Enjoy this sleep apnea page? Please pay it forward. Here's how..

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.