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Can I Use a CPAP Machine with a Cold or Stuffy Nose?
If you catch a cold during the winter, you might wonder if it is still safe to use your CPAP machine. CPAP is an effective treatment for sleep apnea. However, if your nose become congested, have a sore throat or a cough, might it make this worse rather than better?
CPAP use and Colds – should I use cpap with a cold?
The short and simple answer is that the CPAP doesn’t work efficiently if you have a self-limiting respiratory illness that hinders breathing. The machine is meant to offer you with a pressurized stream of air to avoid airway obstruction in otherwise normally functioning lungs. Upper respiratory infections such as the common cold or influenza may make it more challenging to use a cpap with a cold. Similar to what happens with allergies, the nose may become congested, stuffed up, and runny. A stuffy nose may make it difficult to breathe with the machine if you use a nasal mask. The release of mucus can contaminate the CPAP mask, especially if you use nasal pillows. Sleep experts recommends that there is a risk of secondary infection if microorganisms are allowed to breed and multiply on an unclean mask. The flow of air may also lead to irritation if you have a sore throat and provoke coughing spells. Every time you cough, opening the mouth may make the incoming pressure more uncomfortable.
Treatment Options – how to use cpap with a cold
You may find it helpful to use interventions or treatments to make it more tolerable if you decide to continue using cpap with stuffy nose. Some people like to use CPAP during a cold, especially if there is a small nasal discharge. The heated and humidified air may provide comfort and relief. The pressurized air may also move mucus along the nasal passage and reduce congestion. If you can use it for a few minutes, you will notice that it becomes easy to breathe as the nasal area opens up. You do not have to worry about reinfection with a cold or flu virus. When using cpap with a cold, the chance of reinfection is unlikely. In most cases, it unnecessary to use a CPAP sanitizer like the SoClean device, which retails for $300. Unsanitized CPAP equipment can lead to infections unrelated to a cold or flu. That is especially true regarding bacterial infections like acute bacterial rhinosinusitis or bacterial pneumonia, particularly in patient with compromised immune systems. Even though you may want to take a break from CPAP when you have a cold, you do not always have to. If you find that you can put up with the treatment during illness, it will help you to sleep better and wake feeling more refreshed.