When finding out that you suffer from sleep apnea, the next goal is to make sure that you stay compliant. Drivers want to stay compliant so that your health insurance or your employer pays for your machine and supplies. To keep and maintain compliance, you will need to use a continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP machine for four hours a night, for four out of seven nights a week. That will keep you around 70% compliant, which is what the Department of Transportation (or DOT) doctors require.
For most drivers staying compliant can be a hard challenge. Trying to adjust to the mask, the air blowing in your face, and waking up with a dry mouth can be difficult and can affect your compliance.
Another factor to staying compliant is the decision of which mask to use. One of the first questions might be, do you breathe with your mouth open? If the answer is yes, then you might want to start with a full-face mask. This mask covers both the nose and the mouth so you will have the ability to receive positive air pressure up the nose and through the mouth. Another type of mask is the nasal pillow; this mask is less invasive and curls underneath your nostril holes. A nasal mask is a small triangle that covers only your nose. It can be difficult at times to know which one to start with, which is why it is best to be fitted by your doctor or a clinician. By having your doctor fit you for a mask, ensures minimal air leakage and proper mask adjustments.
It is up to the DOT doctor or your employer, as to how many days that you will need to show that you are compliant. Some compliance regulations may require as much as 30 days or as little as 7 days. Achieving compliance has to take place before a driver would be able to get their health card for a year.
Each driver has to be able to prove that they are using their CPAP machine 70% of the time. Due to all the things that the driver would have to get used to can be a challenge, and then you have some that take to the CPAP machine very well. Once a year, when it comes time for the driver to get their health card renewed they will have to take a compliance report with them to show that they have been using their CPAP machine throughout the year and that they have stayed compliant 70% or more. If the driver is not at 70% the doctor might give them a temporary card until their compliance level has been brought up to at least 70%.
For further questions about DOT compliance, contact Aeroflow Industrial at 866-650-7508 or visit industrial.aeroflowinc.com.