Risks of Dirty CPAP Equipment
According to estimative data in the field, about 18 million adults in America only struggle with sleep apnea. The majority of these individuals need to regularly use CPAP devices to get adequate oxygen in their lungs and be able to breathe without obstacles. CPAP machines represent medical-grade devices that provide excellent support to anyone suffering from sleep apnea and other breathing-related difficulties. Patients who utilize a CPAP machine will enjoy a better and more restful night of sleep to enjoy a better life.
However, if your CPAP machine is not sanitized regularly, you are exposed to certain health risks. Using a dirty CPAP comes with severe implications upon your health. Maintaining your CPAP equipment clean and sanitized is as significant as using the machine according to your physician’s instructions and prescription details.
The CPAP unit comprises several parts like the primary device, the humidifier, and the humidifier water chamber, mask, and the tubing system. It is vital to keep in mind that all the CPAP parts that come in contact with water will actually be at risk of developing harmful mold, breeding viruses, and bacteria. The bacteria can reside inside the tubing, for instance, and then whenever you take a breath through that dirty tubing, you expose yourself to significant health risks. This is why all these CPAP parts are required to be cleansed with water and a mild detergent but also disinfected frequently. Remember that disease-carrying pathogens live and prosper in moist and warm environments. The tubing of your CPAP represents the perfect environment for these pathogens to grow and eventually harm your health.
Numerous health problems could arise if you inhale warm and moist air containing bacteria, mold, yeast, and different pathogens. The most common health issues associated with the use of dirty CPAP machines are as follows;
- Respiratory Infections- pharyngitis, laryngitis, otitis media, sinusitis, the prevalent cold/influenza
- Sinus Infections- that may take whole weeks of antibiotic treatment to cure fully
- Pneumonia- an irritation of the air sacs in either one or both the lungs. Pneumonia indicates difficulty in breathing, chills, fever, coughing with phlegm and other complications
- Cough- even a frequent cough can be very annoying. You cannot sleep well or perform your everyday tasks due to a cough that could last up to 6 weeks
- Pneumonitis- inflammation of the lung muscles. It is a noninfectious cause of lung inflammation, but it could take numerous weeks of treatment to become fully cured.
- Acne, soreness, peeling skin- all these irritations might be simply caused by a dirty mask. The skin cells and oils that accumulate on your mask can be easily absorbed by your skin, resulting in breakouts and irritations. If you notice that your skin is red, itchy, covered by acne or breakouts, it is time to sanitize your mask thoroughly.
- Allergic reactions- sneezing, eye-irritations, headaches, throat, or nose irritation. All these might be symptoms of an allergic reaction, and this also means dirty CPAP devices might cause the reaction. Bacterial or fungal infections require to be treated with antibiotics.
As you can quickly note, there are quite a few severe effects of using dirty CPAP equipment. You can easily avoid all these health issues with a little precaution. Ensure you follow all the significant CPAP hygiene practices, and then you do not have to worry about even more respiratory problems caused by bacteria, mold, yeast, or different pathogens.
Frequently Clean CPAP Mask & Replace Silicone Cushions
Stay away from infection risks by frequently cleaning your CPAP mask. You must wash your mask in a mixture of warm water and a mild detergent. In periods when you have the flu or colds, you should perform this task daily, or even in between usages. Even though you clean your mask and cushion correctly, they will need to be changed at given intervals. Whenever you see signs of wear and tear, it is time to purchase a new mask, cushion, or any other replacement part that you require.
- Replace your mask each six months
- Change silicone cushions every 3 months
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