COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and Sleep Apnea Frequently Asked Questions.

Currently, those prone to severe illness from COVID-19 include:

  • People aged 65 years and over
  • People who stay in a nursing home or long-term care facility
Representation of the COVID-19 Structure

Beware of COVID-19

Other high-risk groups if people include:

  • People with chronic lung disease or moderate to acute asthma
  • People who have dangerous heart conditions
  • People who are immunocompromised like cancer treatment
  • People of any age with massive obesity (body mass index [BMI] >40) or certain hidden medical conditions, particularly if not well taken care of, such as those with diabetes, renal failure, or liver disease, might also be prone.
  • People who are pregnant should be kept an eye on since they are often at risk of a severe viral illness. However, to date data on COVID-19 has not shown a high risk

During this outbreak, should I remain home if I have sleep apnea?

During this outbreak, everyone should shun close contact with others. It is wise for everyone to stay home, regardless of complications of sleep apnea. If you have to venture out of your home for food, medical care, or if you have a critical job, practice social distancing by staying at a distance of at least 6 feet whenever possible.

If I do have the coronavirus, will CPAP assist me to recover?

CPAP has not been seen to be specifically effective for the recuperation of persons with COVID-19 but should be continued for those with sleep apnea. However, there is a chance that using CPAP could increase the risk of spreading the virus to others around you. Be sure to converse with your medical provider about this risk. If infected, it is essential to talk to your medical provider before halting any medical treatments.

Is my CPAP machine similar to a ventilator? If not, can I repurpose it into a ventilator?

A CPAP is not a ventilator and is not made to work as a ventilator.

If I do have the coronavirus, will complications arise from CPAP use or lead to getting pneumonia?

Careful Cleaning of CPAP equipment

Ensure you clean your CPAP equipment to avoid spreading COVID-19 virus.

There is no evidence to show that CPAP will make the virus worse or cause pneumonia.

If I do have the coronavirus, will using CPAP infect others around me? If so, why?

Using CPAP when you have the coronavirus can potentially disperse the virus to others around you since the central origin of person-to-person spread is from the respiratory spray. The leak and the vent in the mask can disperse the virus longer distances. If you are infected, you should ensure you are isolated from others.

If I have the coronavirus, how do I sanitize and disinfect my CPAP machine, mask, and accessories?

Masks and accessories, including the water reservoir for humidification, can be cleaned with soap and water to avoid both complications of obstructive sleep apnea and CPAP complications. The outer cover of the CPAP device can be sanitized with soap and water; however, do not dip the CPAP device in water, making the device non-functional. You should sanitize your equipment according to the manufacturer’s manual.

References and Resources