The Top 5 CPAP Infection Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore

CPAP therapy is considered the gold standard in treating obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) because it is safe, non-invasive, and- most importantly- effective. CPAP infection symptoms include sinus and respiratory infections, allergic reactions (leading to coughing, sneezing, sore throat, and runny nose), pneumonia (inflammation of the lungs), or bronchitis. These are all undesirable to say the least when it comes to your health! No one wants to get sick, especially if you have a chronic illness. Thankfully, most infections can be prevented with basic hygiene practices and keeping your CPAP cleaner properly sanitized.

A dirty CPAP machine, especially the tubing, can become a hot-bed for various dangerous microbes. Cleaning your CPAP machine regularly will help you and your machine stay away from these hazards. These microbes include bacteria, fungi, protozoa and even some viruses, and all of these can cause infections. Therefore, there are some CPAP infection symptoms and signs that you should watch out for, even if you’re taking all the necessary precautions. Here we will discuss the top 5 CPAP infection symptoms to keep on your radar.

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Top 5 CPAP infection symptoms

A dirty CPAP machine is hazardous to your health. With various microbes growing inside contaminated CPAP equipment, you are at high risk of getting an infection resulting in these symptoms. CPAP devices must be cleaned regularly, with thorough cleanings on a weekly basis and daily cleanings as needed with CPAP mask wipes or a disinfectant spray. Not sure which CPAP cleaner is suitable for your lifestyle? Check out our CPAP cleaner comparison blog!


During this condition, the nasal cavities become inflamed. Acute sinusitis can be triggered by a cold or allergies and may resolve independently. An infection or growth may cause chronic sinusitis lasting up to eight weeks. CPAP infection symptoms for sinusitis include headache, facial pain, runny nose, and nasal congestion. Acute sinusitis usually doesn’t require treatment beyond symptomatic relief with pain medication, nasal decongestants, and nasal saline rinses. Chronic sinusitis may require antibiotics. Of course, if you continue to use an unclean CPAP machine, the symptoms will remain.

Respiratory tract infections (RTI’s)

Respiratory tract infections (RTIs) are infections of the sinuses, throat, lungs, or airways. Usually, RTIs go away without treatment, but sometimes you may need to see a general practitioner. RTI’s may include sore throat, acute bronchitis, common cold symptoms, and sometimes even asthma flare ups. All these infections can occur with a dirty CPAP. Infection symptoms may also include sore throat, tender lymph node, dry cough, productive cough, shortness of breath, watery eyes, sneeze, nasal congestion, flare chest pressure, and wheeze.

Allergic reactions

According to a published study on NCBI, allergic rhinitis is directly related to CPAP treatment, which can exacerbate allergic rhinitis. Allergic rhinitis is a diagnosis situation associated with symptoms affecting the nose. You may experience these symptoms if you breathe in something you are allergic to, such as dust, animal dander, or pollen, which can be present in high concentrations inside a dirty CPAP. Infection symptoms can also occur when you eat something you are allergic to. CPAP infection symptoms for allergic reactions include sneezing, runny nose, and red, watery, and itchy eyes. Some people may also experience pain in the ear, stuffy nose, loss of smell, postnasal drip, stuffy nose, wheezing, fatigue, headache, and phlegm.

CPAP infection symptoms


Pneumonitis describes the general inflammation of lung tissue. Physical manifestations of pneumonitis range from mild cold-like symptoms to respiratory failure. Most frequently, those with pneumonitis experience shortness of breath and sometimes a dry cough. Symptoms usually appear a few hours after exposure and peak at approximately eighteen to twenty-four hours. Other symptoms may include malaise, fever, dyspnea, flushed or discolored skin, sweating, small and fast inhalations. Without proper treatment, pneumonitis may become chronic pneumonitis, resulting in fibrosis of the lungs and its effects: difficulty breathing, food aversion, and lethargy. End-stage fibrosis and respiratory failure eventually lead to death in cases without proper management of chronic pneumonitis.


Pneumonia can be described as pneumonitis combined with consolidation and exudation of lung tissue due to infection with microorganisms. The distinction between pneumonia and pneumonitis can be further understood. Pneumonitis encapsulates all respiratory infections (incorporating pneumonia and pulmonary fibrosis as significant diseases) and pneumonia as a localized infection. Symptoms of infectious pneumonia include a productive cough, fever accompanied by shaking chills, shortness of breath, sharp or stabbing chest pain during deep breathing, and an increased breathing rate. In elderly people, confusion may be the most prominent sign. Pneumonia is a serious condition that may require hospitalization.

Don’t let the hassle of cleaning your machine lead to uncomfortable CPAP infection symptoms. Try an automatic cleaner to save time and your health.

A dirty CPAP machine can be the cause of various respiratory and sinus infections as well as pneumonia. This is why it’s important to clean your CPAP machine regularly, especially when you’re using it every day. CleanCPAP offers a wide range of automatic cleaners that will eliminate the dangerous microbes from your CPAP equipment without disrupting your day. Prioritize your health and shop today!

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