Is Your CPAP Making You Sick?

Written by
Jason Smith RPSGT
Published on
November 8, 2022 6:56:06 AM PST November 8, 2022 6:56:06 AM PSTth, November 8, 2022 6:56:06 AM PST

There are many proven benefits to using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to treat sleep apnea. These include reduced daytime sleepiness, better mood, improved blood pressure, and an enhanced quality of life.

But if you don't take proper care of your CPAP machine, it could end up making you sick. Symptoms such as coughing, sinus infections, a stuffy nose, and headaches are all signs that your CPAP machine isn't as clean as it should be.  

Keep reading to learn more about how to avoid getting sick from your CPAP machine. 

CPAP Machine Infection Risks

A new CPAP machine is a sterile device with no risk of infection. Studies suggest that regular correct CPAP use could even reduce the risk of infection in the nasal passage. 

That said, there are several ways that germs can enter your CPAP. For example, using contaminated water in your CPAP humidifier can lead to Legionella, a bacterial infection. The warm, humid environment inside your CPAP also increases the chance of mold and fungus growing there. 

If you find yourself waking up sick and coughing a lot after using your CPAP machine at night, a moldy humidifier or fungus inside the tubing could be to blame. This could then lead to infections such as bronchitis or pneumonia, so it's vital that you try to resolve the issue. 

How to Avoid Infection When Using a CPAP Machine

To reduce the risk of infection and avoid your CPAP machine making you sick, you should follow these steps:

  • Regular Cleaning - Clean your CPAP as often as instructed with hot water and dish soap. Equipment manufacturers recommend daily cleaning but if this is not possible, make sure to clean it at least once a week, making use of these CPAP cleaning supplies where necessary
  • Take Extra Care After a Cold - If you are sick with a cold or flu, give your mask, tubing, and device an extra-thorough cleaning throughout your illness and especially once you're recovered 
  • Avoid Leaving Water Inside - Do not let water or moisture remain in the equipment for more than a few days. If you plan to not use it, clean it and dry it out to leave no trace of moisture
  • Use Distilled Water in the Humidifier - Using distilled water in your CPAP machine humidifier reduces the risk of infection by amoeba. Distilled water also avoids minerals found in tap water accumulating in the water chamber
  • Replace Supplies Regularly - You should replace your mask at least every three months, while you should replace your CPAP filters and mask cushions around every two weeks
  • Never Share Your Equipment - CPAP machines are for individual use only so never share your device with anyone. You should also never buy or accept used equipment, especially masks and tubing 

By taking these steps, you can reduce the risk of infection and your chances of getting sick from your CPAP machine. 

Is Your CPAP Making You Sick?

If you're worried that your CPAP is making you sick, it could be time for you to check your equipment.

A thorough clean might be all it takes to remove any kind of bacterial build-up inside. But if you can't remember the last time you replaced your CPAP supplies, old equipment could be the reason you're feeling sick. 

For more information about CPAP machines and supplies, don't hesitate to get in touch with us here at 1800 CPAP.