Wednesday, January 02, 2013
I just replaced the nasal pillow on my Resmed Swift FX Nasal Pillow system due to wear, so I'm guessing that it's time for a long term review. I'd always used full-face masks before, but they had several problems: first, they were heavy and bulky. Secondly, they leaked. Finally, they were costly to replace and maintain. For a while, discount retailers on the internet would get them to me for a relatively cheap price, but the manufacturers recently clamped down on them so they're now very pricey.
I thought I wasn't a good candidate for a nasal pillow system because my brothers were all mouth breathers, and so I thought I was one as well. I took a loaner from SleepQuest, along with a chin strap so I could tie my mouth shut if it stayed open at night. (Yes crack all the jokes you want about my wife wanting me to use it during the day) After two days, however, I stopped using the chin strap as it would slip off at night. The nasal pillow would cause a nasty backflow through my mouth if my mouth slipped open, so obviously I wasn't a mouth-breather, since I would have woken up the minute my chin strap slipped off!
There was an initial adjustment period. Basically, my nostrils would get sore from the pillows in my nose. I guess despite the name, they're not particularly soft or comfortable, at least at the beginning. I would swap between my full-face mask and the nasal pillow every 2-3 days to give my nostrils a rest. I used vaseline as well on my nostrils so as to lubricate the pillows and not chafe my nostrils.
Then during the Hawaii trip I basically went cold-turkey and used only the nasal pillows. They worked great. Basically, my nose has gotten use to the pillows now and I can use them all the time with no problems. I was told that the pillows would last about 6 weeks or so, but in practice I got 3 months out of each pillow set. Replacements are about $21 each on Amazon, so there's no reason not to replacement whenever you notice wear. (Basically, my wear indicator was that the inside silicone wears larger and larger)
The best thing about the pillows is that they don't leak, and they feel very comfortable. On a secondary basis, the pillows are also much lighter than the full face mask and easier to pack, making future tours of the alps potentially easier on my body.