📚Sleep Apnea: Sleep Better With a CPAP MACHINE
Are you one of the 25 million Americans suffering from sleep apnea? Do you rely on continuous positive airway pressure (also known as CPAP) machine to help you get a better night's sleep? If so, do you clean the machine regularly and thoroughly?
Why is it important to clean your CPAP?
To get the most from your sleep apnea treatment, regular cleaning is vital. As you are using your CPAP machine night after night you are introducing it to your breath, dead skin cells on your face, and oils from your hair. Without a good cleansing routine, the germs, grease, and oils will start to cycle through the machine causing an array of problems.
Regularly cleaning your CPAP machine is vital for hygiene reasons, but also to ensure that the equipment functions properly. The more care you take to clean and maintain the machine, the longer it will last and the more effective it will be.
Keeping the machine in tip-top condition can help to avoid any potential dangers and problems. In this article, we address the most common problems caused by improper or lack of cleaning.
The build-up of bacteria and mold
Hoses/tubing and masks can be a prime breeding ground for bacteria and mold so be sure these parts, in particular, are cleaned thoroughly and regularly. It’s a good idea to get into the habit of wiping down your mask daily, especially the areas that come into contact with your skin.
To clean the mask, you can use a damp towel with mild detergent and warm water. However, for a much more thorough clean, you will find that cpap cleaners are by far the best choice as they are designed specifically for the machine. What makes CPAP cleaners so effective is that they use special mechanisms to eliminate more germs and bacteria than regular cleaning methods.
Without regular cleaning, the oils, skin cells, and dirt that the mask collects can absorb into your skin leading to breakouts, irritation or rashes. If you are still experiencing irritation to your skin with regular and thorough cleaning then it may be that your mask is too tight or too small.
Allergy symptoms and increased risk of sinus infections
Pollen and dust particles can easily accumulate in the mask, tubing, and humidifier. This could potentially lead to upper airway congestion and even infections or pneumonia. This will severely impact your sleep apnea treatment, exacerbating your health condition. Remember, you're directly breathing the air that's circulated through the machine. The air is humidified and filtered, but it should be kept as clean as possible to help this process.
Many CPAP machines have filters that need to be cleaned or replaced on a regular basis. Keeping these filters clean and replacing them regularly will greatly reduce the amount of dust and other contaminants that get into your lungs or nose. Humidifiers help to reduce and eliminate symptoms of nasal congestion, dry nose, and throat but be sure to clean your CPAP humidifier and replace the water every day.
Mineralization within the equipment
Sometimes hard, abrasive mineral deposits build up in the machine reducing the ability for it to function well. This is usually caused by filling the humidifier with tap water. To prevent this from happening make sure to use only distilled water in the humidifier. This will prevent minerals from building up and keep it in good working order.
Musty or foul odor
A bad smell is a sure sign that your CPAP equipment is not being cleaned enough. The mask and tubing are the parts that are most likely to start to smell. A foul smell could be caused by mold so a good, regular cleaning regime should prevent any bad smells occurring. It’s also worth noting that sometimes new equipment may have a strange "new" smell that you will become used to after a while.
Short machine lifespan
Not keeping the machine properly cleaned and maintained could lead to the equipment breaking down and stopping to work much quicker than it should. It’s important to note that if the machine breaks down due to poor maintenance and lack of cleaning then the device warranty will most likely be void.
As you can see, taking the time to clean and care for your CPAP equipment will help to ensure that your machine continues to work effectively. This will allow you to keep benefiting from the therapy as well as getting quality and undisturbed sleep each night.