CPAP Problems and Solutions: CPAP Bacteria
In parts one and two of my series on CPAP Problems and Solutions, we talked about mask leaks and some side effects that are common when using your CPAP machine. In this portion, I am going to talk about CPAP and your health, most importantly CPAP Bacteria build ups that can occur in both your humidifier and tube, that will eventually end up in your body and cause you to get sick from using your machine.
Most people using a CPAP are using it for one single purpose, to treat their sleep apnea, a serious sleeping disorder that when treated effectively, can boost energy and production during the day. Basically, our machines are designed to improve our overall health, so why would we not spend the few minutes a day it takes to clean them if the repercussions can be serious to our health beyond sleep apnea? Maintaining your CPAP equipment isn’t just important to your wallet (and let’s be honest, its real important, these machines, masks, all the accessories, it can add up quickly), but it can be important your health, helping prevent things like the common cold, flu, and other viruses that can occur from bacteria building up and being pumped directly into your body.
So how does CPPA bacteria build up? There are three common ways that can all be prevented by spending a few minutes each day cleaning your equipment. First and foremost, and probably the most strenuous to do (and I really use that term strenuous lightly because it’s a few minutes at most out of your morning) is in your CPAP tube. Let’s remember that you’re consistently breathing in and out of the tube that is attached to your mask, and if you use it, your humidifier. The air, and moisture traveling through this tube over time can allow bacteria to build up inside the tube, meaning when you use it you will be breathing in all of the bad. A lot of users think that washing their tube out daily with warm water will get out all of that build up, but honestly it’s not going to be as effective as you’ll want when thinking about your health. CPAP Tubing Brushes
are designed to effectively remove 99 percent of that stuff in your tube with simple swipes up and down inside the tube.
Let’s talk about humidifiers, last post I spoke about how effective they are at improving your comfort by reducing things like dry throats and noses, and really 90 percent of CPAP users are probably using that humidifier nightly. How many of them are filling it with simple tap water? If I knew the percentage, I would tell you, but what I do know is that tap water in the humidifier, while it may work, is terrible for you and your machine. Tap water will allow things like minerals, and that bacteria we keep coming back to, to build up in your water chamber, forcing you to replace it more often, while also having negative impacts on your health. The solution? Distilled water, every night, poured out in the morning, and refilled again before use. But remember to clean out that water chamber with warm water and a mild soap, even if you use distilled water.
The last step to prevent CPAP bacteria buildups is at the thing that touches your mouth or nose the most, and that’s your mask. Clean daily, and I really mean daily, every morning, after using your mask. Warm water and mild soap? That’ll do the trick, but things like alcohol free wipes
are more effective and designed to specifically work with the silicone or gel cushions on your CPAP mask. What’s more, cleaning these cushions, headgears, frames, will save you a whole lot of money in the long term as well, and improve your therapy by causing the parts to break down less frequently, reducing leaks.
All it really takes to improve your health while using your CPAP machine is to take good care of the machine and accessories. You save money, while also improving your health, it’s really a win win for all as we keep working to improve sleep apnea therapy. Part four will be coming soon, is there any topics you’d like to see me cover? Leave them as comments on the bottom or on our Twitter
or Facebook page
! Thanks for reading and hopefully you’re getting the information you need and deserve!