Risks Associated with a Dirty CPAP: Is Illness One of Them?

As part of CPAP therapy, an individual wears a mask that provides continuous air pressure while sleeping to help their airways remain open. As a result, the sleep apnea patients’ airways don’t collapse, allowing them to get a good night’s sleep. However, you might have heard about respiratory infections being caused by a dirty CPAP. Illness of a more serious nature might follow if you don’t look for the signs of infection and keep your equipment sanitized.

While using a CPAP machine to treat your sleep apnea, you’re probably well aware of the potential side effects. Dry mouth, nasal congestion, and headaches are just a few of the most common complaints. A CPAP machine itself does not cause illness, but using a dirty CPAP can lead to serious consequences. Here we’ll explore the risks associated with infections caused by an unclean CPAP.

A dirty CPAP creates a happy home for illness-causing pathogens. Keep them from moving into your body by cleaning your CPAP regularly with an automatic CPAP cleaner.

Risk of getting an infection from a CPAP

Initially, the CPAP device is sterile. It is unlikely that the plastic and metal components of the machine will cause any infections, and germs won’t be present when it is new. Once you start using it, germs start building up inside the accessories. Therefore, the risk of acquiring a new infection from a CPAP starts increasing with every use if the equipment isn’t cleaned regularly. Here’s what you should know about a dirty CPAP and illness that can result from using it.

Effects of a dirty CPAP on your health

In the scientific literature, several cases have been reported of legionella pneumonia and streptococcus infections associated with the use of dirty CPAP machines. A study published in 2022 reported a case of Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia in a 48-year-old man suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. He developed the infection due to the use of an unclean CPAP. Illness like this is likely to occur if you do not regularly clean your CPAP.

Infection from a CPAP might weaken your immune system

A simple infection may turn into a severe illness if you do not clean your equipment regularly. When you already have an infection and use a CPAP for your sleep apnea therapy, you exhale the infectious microbes inside the CPAP mask and tubing. If you don’t clean your equipment frequently when already carrying an infection, and you use a dirty CPAP, illness risks get higher because your immune system is already weak from the infection.

Microbes love to live in a warm environment

The CPAP has some features that make it more comfortable to use. The heated humidifier and heated tubing make the air moister and warmer. This reduces the dryness of the mouth and nose. Decreased dryness may reduce potential infection risk and improves tolerance to the therapy. However, some other organisms also like a warm, humid environment. Fungi, yeast, and mold would love to live in such an place. It is also possible for dangerous bacteria and viruses to grow in unclean equipment. You may be at risk of contracting a disease if these organisms grow inside your equipment.

CPAP Illness

The lungs and airways may become irritated when using an unclean CPAP device, contributing to coughing or even bronchitis, pneumonia, or pneumonitis, an inflammation of the lungs. If you’re experiencing a runny nose or irritated nasal passages after starting therapy with a CPAP, illness of a more serious nature may follow. Life should be better when you start using a CPAP. Illness does not have to be your new normal; keep reading to learn about how to avoid it.

Tips to avoid CPAP caused infections

When you regularly sanitize your CPAP, illness risks are drastically reduced. To reduce the exposure to unwanted pathogens (fungi, bacteria, viruses, and protozoa), there are certain steps that you can take.

  1. Keep your CPAP clean by using hot water and mild soap as often as necessary. Thorough equipment cleaning is suggested at least once a week, depending on your environment. If you regularly clean your CPAP, illness risks are minimal. Use CPAP mask wipes and disinfectant sprays in between cleanings for better health and hygiene.
  1. When you have a cold or flu, thoroughly clean your mask, tubing, and device with mask wipes, sprays, or cleaners, to remove mucus and other undesirable residual discharge from the infection. This basic hygiene can help avoid any unwanted bacteria and smells from developing. You will also want to give your machine a full cleaning more frequently.
  1. Using distilled water in the humidifier instead of tap or other types of bottled water will reduce your risk of infection. It also avoids the accumulation of minerals inside the water chamber, prolonging the lifespan of your equipment.
  1. Replace your CPAP supplies, including machine filters, as recommended. Replacing filters promptly has been shown to reduce the spread of bacteria within the device. Filters and mask cushions should be changed from every two weeks to monthly. It is recommended to replace your mask at least every three months.
  1. Do not share your equipment with others. Do not purchase or accept used masks or tubing.

With proper maintenance and cleaning of your CPAP, illness can be easily avoided. Ensure that you get the health benefits you expect from your treatment by keeping your machine sanitized.

Ready to invest in a CPAP cleaner?

It is essential to keep your CPAP machine clean. This will help to avoid any risks associated with its use. If you’re not cleaning your CPAP equipment thoroughly at least once a week, you may be putting yourself at risk with a dirty CPAP. Illness might follow when your immune system is already weak from the infection.

Cleaning your CPAP by hand may take up a lot of your time and energy. However, an automatic CPAP cleaner will do the work for you. Bring home the best of the best CPAP cleaners so that you can keep your equipment clean and free from bacteria and other contaminants. Shop now!

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