A face mask, also called a cpap mask, is an appliance used for sleeping and treating sleep apnea. A cloth face mask is an appliance usually made from heavy-duty textiles, usually polyester, designed to cover the entire nose and mouth. If physical distancing is impossible and if other more effective masks aren’t available, fabric face masks can provide the comforting feel of a snug fit to the face. Different types of fabric and facial features will vary the price you pay for your cpap mask. A cheap cpap mask may be uncomfortable or break easily.
A cpap mask generally consists of a face shield (which covers the nose), a face pad (usually made from thin nylon mesh similar to a diaper sock), and fitted straps or bandages on either side. The strap or bandage may be held in place by Velcro or by buckles. Fitted straps can be worn with a wide variety of facial hair styles. There are four exhalation valves, located on top of the face shield, that open and close to increase air flow through the mask.
The most common and least expensive type of cpap mask is one with only one exhalation valve and nose pads. Multiple layers are more durable and allow for more comfort. For a more comfortable fit, get a fabric mask with multiple layers of material knotted together at the top of the face guard. Polyester or nylon mixed with a few sheets of soft cotton give the best amount of air flow. Choose one with a nose pad that is also fitted for maximum comfort.
Soft face shields work well for preventing irritations from reaching the nose and mouth. These often have small Velcro strips sewn into them to prevent irritation. Many have a slight curve to prevent snoring in certain areas. These are made of moisture-wicking cotton or breathable polyester.
Another type of CPAP mask includes a nose clip, which is permanently attached to the face mask. Some types have a nose bridge, which is a bend to one side of the nose, similar to a nostril clip. Soft bibs with multiple pockets are useful to keep a hand behind the face shield so that it is not in direct contact with the face. It is important to note that some nose clips are only meant to be used on soft nasal masks and may cause irritation if worn on a hard face shield. The same is true of oral bibs. They should be worn on a nasal breathing mask if at all possible.
Some CPAP face coverings include adjustable straps or elastic bands that can be tightened and loosed to adapt to an individual’s breathing needs. This allows for either a tight-fitting cover over the entire head or a looser fit near the neck or chin. Some such fabric covers even have spandex panels that allow for a more comfortable fit even after the mask has been worn for an extended period. These covers often come with washable liners that can be easily removed and washed.