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General Discussion on any topic relating to CPAP and/or Sleep Apnea.
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FeelingBetter
 
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flying and cpap

Postby FeelingBetter on Sat Feb 25, 2012 9:57 pm

I will be flying to Las Vegas in 2 weeks. I won't need to fly but will need to take it with me. I am guessing I need to carry it on but how do I get my distilled water to Vegas?? No nearby pharmacies or grocery stores around. Do I tell the security ppl at the airport that I am sending a cpap through xray?
Lots of questions.

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2 B Sleeping Soundly
 
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Re: flying and cpap

Postby 2 B Sleeping Soundly on Sat Feb 25, 2012 10:25 pm

FeelingBetter,

A week ago I flew to San Jose, stayed overnight and flew home to Southern California the next day. My home airport could have cared less about the CPAP stuff because I just had to run the entire CPAP case through the scanner (along with my carryon bag) with no issue. Coming back from the San Jose airport the TSA agent requested that I take only the CPAP machine out of the case so it could be scanned separately from the rest of the CPAP items in the case. Go figure...

As far as water for the humidifier goes, I would not put any into the bag due to the restrictions on carry on liquids. I just bought a bottle of water from the hotel vending machine to use, though normally at home I use distilled. I feel that a few days using non-distilled water in my humidifier will not cause any problems.

One nice thing is the CPAP case isn't considered towards your 1 carry on item since it is for medical purposes. I had a CPAP case, a backpack, and a carryon luggage bag, and had no problems from the airline or TSA.

John

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greatunclebill
 
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Re: flying and cpap

Postby greatunclebill on Sat Feb 25, 2012 10:31 pm

there are too many variables from airport to airport so call ahead to see what their local policies are. cpap machines are approved medical devices and so marked. carry it on. forget the water, it isn't going to work. you'll have to figure out how to get some at the destination. if its a huge problem theres nothing wrong with tap water. just be sure to rinse your reservoir out every morning. i used tap water for a long time in the beginning before i got tired of cleaning the white calcium crap out of my reservoir and started buying distilled water. distilled vs tap vs spring is a big deal with some people. people tend to have strong feelings and opinions on the subject.

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2 B Sleeping Soundly
 
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Re: flying and cpap

Postby 2 B Sleeping Soundly on Sat Feb 25, 2012 10:34 pm

I forgot to add that I did print out a CPAP medical tag, laminated it, and had it attached to the strap on the CPAP case. I made sure that the tag was visible to the TSA screeners, though I got the feeling that it isn't something they are not used to seeing, as there are a lot more 'hose heads' these days who fly. :lol: :lol: :lol:

John

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Re: flying and cpap

Postby BigTex on Sat Feb 25, 2012 10:52 pm

I was told by the DME that the Cpap is a medical device and the FAA allows it on the plane and does not count as your carry on.
No problem sending thru the Xray either.

The local airport has to follow FAA rules.

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JointPain
 
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Re: flying and cpap

Postby JointPain on Sun Feb 26, 2012 6:50 am

Always carry it on. Baggage handlers are experts at transferring bags using minimal effort. This often appears extremely similar to dropping. It is not compatible with precision medical equipment.

Usually there's no problem with security at the big airports. Houston for example has seen a zillion of them. They might be rarer at smaller airports and the TSA might want to check them, which they have every right to do. You can pack your blower and humidifier in separate plastic bags to help maintain their cleanliness if they do want to inspect. (This is also an extra layer of protection in case you accidentally forget to empty your humidifier one day :oops: .) You can also ask that they put on a new pair of gloves and perhaps a few other things.

The CPAP doesn't count toward your carry on limit in the US. Don't pack anything not medically related in the same bag, because then it would count. I've been queried about a "third bag" several times. I just say it's personal medical equipment and that's been sufficient.

I use bottled water at hotels.

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Re: flying and cpap

Postby bayourest on Sun Feb 26, 2012 7:17 am

I think if you call your hotel and tell them you need distilled water they can have it in your room when you arrive. Otherwise I would just use bottled water from a vending machine or bar or ?
As others have said, you should have no prob getting through with the machine. The first time I flew with it was about 4 days after I got it. I was so nervous and called the airline etc and they told me to tell them at the security gate that I had a cpap machine. They opened the bag and looked at it but that was all. I kept it with me and kept it under the seat in front of me the whole time. and it does NOT count as carry on baggage! I wonder if anyone has had success in boarding early due to medical equipment? so you can actually have a safe place in the overhead bin?

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Re: flying and cpap

Postby SleepySydney on Sun Feb 26, 2012 7:52 am

I fly with CPAP and O2 concentrator and never have issues. CPAP always makes it through Xray but o2 get searched all the time. Not as prevalent I guess as a CPAP machine.
They see them in San Jose as this is one of the airports I go to o a regular basis. The only issues I have ever had is in Amsterdam where they wanted to see my prescription.

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Re: flying and cpap

Postby jmcanzo on Sun Feb 26, 2012 8:32 am

FeelingBetter wrote:I will be flying to Las Vegas in 2 weeks. I won't need to fly but will need to take it with me. I am guessing I need to carry it on but how do I get my distilled water to Vegas?? No nearby pharmacies or grocery stores around. Do I tell the security ppl at the airport that I am sending a cpap through xray?
Lots of questions.


Last time I was in Vegas (about 5 yrs ago) I remember a CVS on the strip.. Down by New York New York I think.....

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Re: flying and cpap

Postby Ron439 on Sun Feb 26, 2012 8:57 am

We have travelled with my husband's CPAP for several years now. We got our doctor to write a "prescription" for distilled water. Went to the pharmacy and got empty 16-oz bottles with prescription labels that we fill at home. Surprisingly, we've had no problems getting through security, since the water is prescribed. Unfortunately, it's heavy to carry, so you have to be prepared for that. We generally just buy bottled water at our destination. But a great experiment, and successful!

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Re: flying and cpap

Postby PST on Sun Feb 26, 2012 11:14 am

2 B Sleeping Soundly wrote:... there are a lot more 'hose heads' these days who fly. :lol: :lol: :lol:

I believe Dumbo was the first, but I see more every day.

I fly a couple of times a month with no hassle whatsoever these days. Yesterday, at Heathrow, the local version of TSA swabbed the outside of my CPAP case without asking me to open it to examine the machine itself. That was a first, but in no way inconvenient.

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FeelingBetter
 
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Re: flying and cpap

Postby FeelingBetter on Sun Feb 26, 2012 11:34 am

Thank you so much everyone for the comments and suggestions. I was worried about using bottled water as my DME says NEVER use anything but distilled. But that is in a perfect world. When I travel by car, no problem obviously, I just throw the jug in the trunk. The DME said that bacteria from tap water is the issue and surely bottled water wouldn't contain bacteria (I would hope not, that would be disgusting!). Anyway, it should be some trip...my husband travels with a cane and an oxygen concentrator and now I have the cpap plus our regular carry-ons. Should be interesting, I'll be exhausted before I get to the hotel.
Thanks again, you guys have been a life saver more than once since I started therapy.

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PST
 
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Re: flying and cpap

Postby PST on Sun Feb 26, 2012 3:04 pm

FeelingBetter wrote:Thank you so much everyone for the comments and suggestions. I was worried about using bottled water as my DME says NEVER use anything but distilled. But that is in a perfect world. When I travel by car, no problem obviously, I just throw the jug in the trunk. The DME said that bacteria from tap water is the issue and surely bottled water wouldn't contain bacteria (I would hope not, that would be disgusting!). Anyway, it should be some trip...my husband travels with a cane and an oxygen concentrator and now I have the cpap plus our regular carry-ons. Should be interesting, I'll be exhausted before I get to the hotel.

I think this is a good example of what bad advice DMEs sometimes give. Distilled water is great for preventing the deposit of mineral scale on the inside of the humidifier tank, but there is no sensible argument for using it to avoid bacterial disease. It would be just as disgusting to have tap water with bacterial contamination as it would be to have bottled water. That's why water systems filter and treat with chlorine or other sterilizing agents.

In any event, the danger of breathing air that has passed over a container with contaminated water would be vastly less than drinking the water, or bushing one's teeth with it, or washing dishes, or any of the other things we do. Imagine how much evaporated moisture one breathes taking a long, hot shower. It feels great when you have a cold precisely because of all the "steam" from tap water. Our humidifiers don't even sprizzle an an aerosol of water droplets into the air. They just let the air pass over heated water so some evaporates. A bacterium is to a water molecule like a house is to a ping-pong ball. They don't get easily lifted into the air stream.

I live near the shore of Lake Michigan. Outside my window is something like 25,000 square miles of water where fish poop (and many other creatures besides). They don't even close the beaches unless the fecal coliform bacteria count is 500 colonies per 100 ml, which is about an orange juice glass. The limit for tap water is zero. So if we don't mind breathing air that has passed over oceans, lakes, or ponds, let alone the air we breathe when we drive past a commercial hog farming operation, breathing air that has touched tap water shouldn't bother us at all. There may be other good arguments for using distilled water, but bacterial infection is not one of them, except maybe if one lives somewhere remote without modern water treatment.

The DME doesn't SELL distilled water, by any chance?

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Re: flying and cpap

Postby HappyHoser on Sun Feb 26, 2012 8:02 pm

You didn't mention it but I assume you will also be checking luggage in addition to the cpap carryon. I fly quite a bit for work and constantly face arriving too late and too tired to go looking for water. I am pretty OCD about using distilled so years ago I started packing a well sealed bottle with sufficient volume to get me through the first night (not a gallon jug!). I didn't want to be stressing over water on the first night of a business trip. These days I use a typical camping type water bottle of good quality and vacuum seal it with my handy seal-a-meal in case of a leak which, by the way I never had prior to the vacuum sealer anyway. I also label it "Distilled Water For CPAP" just to be extra anal if it ever turned into a problem with TSA. In more than seven years it's never been a problem and I have on a couple of occasions had an "Opened By TSA" insert in my luggage when I got to the hotel. According to friends at my hometown airport police department it isn't a problem since the trace explosive detectors or detection dogs would hit on the bags contents if there was something nefarious in the bottle, even vacuum sealed such as it is and it bears no threatening image in x-ray. Also, if it raised any concerns it is supported by the apap and humidifier I carry on. Just my experience.

Doug

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Re: flying and cpap

Postby chunkyfrog on Sun Feb 26, 2012 8:18 pm

I wonder if the housekeeping teams at hotels use distilled water, like in irons or steamers?
The retail irons always state 'distilled water not required', but I bet the pros don't take the chance.
I'd ask the maid! And tip her generously.

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