CPAP Mask Irritation

Combating Mask Irritation

One of the most common complaints among CPAP patients is skin irritation from their mask. Many people assume that they must somehow be ‘allergic’ to the silicone in the mask. Silicone allergies are actually extremely rare, which is why it’s used in surgical implants, and even to coat some hypodermic needles to allow them to smoothly pass through the skin. What then is causing the irritation?

First of all, most people have more sensitive skin on their face than they realize because it’s not in constant contact with foreign objects. Sometimes all that’s required is time, and the skin will toughen to the point where it’s not irritated by the mask. (For new patients, it may also be that a properly sized or fitted mask is needed. Mask fitting is initially a trial and error process, and one we’re more than happy to help with.)

Secondly, many patients don’t change their masks often enough. The seals become looser, which requires more tension on the headgear to make the mask work. This extra pressure is often the culprit. Not only that, but if the mask has not been cleaned properly and regularly, bacteria that forms in the presence of the oil and dead skin can cause surface skin infections.

The best defense?

  1. Change masks or seals on schedule.
  2. Clean your mask thoroughly at least weekly.
  3. Do not over tighten your mask.

Give me a call on (509) 697 5793 and I would be happy to talk about your sleep therapy needs.

Thayne Jongeward
Sleep Manager

Thayne has been in charge of the respiratory department at Howard’s for almost two years and has a degree from Central Washington University.

How to get medical supplies covered by your insurance

One of the most important items we do at Howard’s is billing for medical supply items. In order for Howard’s Medical to bill your insurance it starts with the doctor and patient relationship. Patients should have a good relationship with their physician and visit them at least once a year.

If you would like your equipment to be covered by your insurance, you will need to have a prescription from your doctor.  At Howard’s, we are happy to contact your doctor for you but it is important that your doctor know that you really need this item.  If your doctor has no idea you need a specific medical supply item and then hear from our medical supply, he/she is likely to deny the request unless they hear directly from you.  If you are unsure of who to contact regarding the situation, give us a phone call at 509-654-9899 and we would be glad to point you in the right direction.  We bill over 1,000 different kinds of medical supply items and sometimes the requirements differ greatly from Medicare to DSHS (Medicaid), to private insurance (i.e. Regence, Premera, Group Health, etc.).  The requirements also are different from a nebulizer, to motorized scooter, to cpap machine.

We are always striving to match medical supply equipment to patient’s need.  Give us a call at Howard’s on (509) 697 5793 and we would be happy to assist you.

Written by Tracy Jessup

Billing specialist for Howard’s Medical and 2010 graduate of Perry Tech’s billing program

Yakima Medical Supply

New location for Yakima Medical Supply

Howard’s Drug and Medical Supply is pleased to announce that after serving our community in the pharmacy since 1958 and serving the community in the medical supply since 2004, we will be opening a second location to serve the patients and customers of Yakima starting in July.

We quickly realized that one thing that set Howard’s customers apart from other stores is they wanted to interact with our employees.  They didn’t just stop by and pick up their supplies and move on.  They wanted to know the ins and outs of the medical supply item. They wanted to know what insurances covered and didn’t cover. What were the long term implications of choosing one item over the other? Our employees went the extra mile for all of our customers and this is why we eventually chose to move a second location into Yakima.

We proudly serve both Yakima Memorial and Yakima Regional Hospice so our hub will be closer to their main office. This new location will also be about 4-5 times larger than our Selah location.  When someone would come in a look at our one or two lift chairs we would tell them about the other ones in our warehouse.  In Yakima, we will be able to show twelve different lift chairs to all our customers because we want the customer to pick out the most perfect chair for themself.

Our first date we plan on opening is July 11th. In the meantime you may check our Facebook  page for updates, pictures, and videos.  Also, we would love any suggestions on what you would like from your medical supply store because we exist to make your life easier.


Erik Mickelson
Howard’s Medical