Dangers of Using a Dirty CPAP Machine
If you are one of the estimated 18 million adults in America who suffers from sleep apnea, then you may use a CPAP equipment on a nightly basis to control your sleep apnea symptoms. This device can be a great asset to your health since it helps you get the deep sleep you require at night despite your medical condition.
However, it is vital to understand the health risks of utilizing a CPAP machine that is not sanitized regularly and the health risks of not following CPAP care instructions precisely. Read on to learn about the health hazards of using dirty CPAP device and how to keep all of your CPAP equipment sanitary to avoid these hazards
Dangers of a Dirty CPAP Equipment on Your Health
Your CPAP equipment comprises the main CPAP machine, humidifier, humidifier water chamber, tubing, and mask. All CPAP equipment parts that come into contact with water vapor — created by either your humidifier or your breath — can become a breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and yeast when not frequently disinfected. All of these pathogens thrive in warm, moist environments, like inside your CPAP machine.
When your CPAP machine becomes contaminated with these pathogens, you can inhale them when you use your device, and this can result in many health problems.
When inhaling moist air that is contaminated with mold, bacteria, and/or yeast through your CPAP machine, it can result in the following health problems:
- Sinus Infections
- Respiratory Infections
If you suffer from asthma, then inhaling these pathogens can also trigger asthma signs and even attacks. Additionally, natural oils and bacteria present on your skin can build up on your CPAP mask and cause skin irritation or even infection.
How to Avoid Effects of a Dirty CPAP Machine
Luckily, these health effects can be avoided by following good CPAP hygiene practices.
Never Utilize Tap Water in Your Humidifier Water Chamber
While you may know that you should utilize only distilled water in your water chamber, you may run out from time to time and opt to use tap water in a pinch. Nevertheless, all tap water contains the minerals calcium and magnesium, and filling your water chamber with tap water can cause the mineral scale to build up in it. Mold can then grow in this mineral scale and enter your air supply when you use your CPAP equipment humidifier.
Select Heated CPAP Tubing
You may know that employing heated CPAP tubing is significant for keeping the air that your humidifier warms up from cooling off before you inhale it. Though, you may not realize that heated tubing prevents condensation from developing in your breathing tube. When there is less condensation in your breathing hose, it discourages mold and bacteria growth in it.
Replace CPAP Filter Frequently
It is very significant to replace your CPAP filter on the schedule recommended by the manufacturer or even more often if you suffer from allergies. Replace disposable filters at least once a month and change recyclable filters at least every six months, while cleaning them once a month.
This filter eliminates allergens from the air in the room you sleep in before you inhale it. When not replaced often, this filter not only doesn’t remove these allergens as effectively but also becomes contaminated with bacteria.
Clean and Replace Masks & Cushions Often
To avoid skin irritation and possible infection, you should wash your CPAP mask with mild soap and water or specialized mask cleaners at least once a day to keep it clean and sanitary. Though, your CPAP masks and cushions are not meant to be used forever without replacement, even when you clean them properly.
Your CPAP cushion should be replaced at least every three months, and your whole mask should be replaced every six months unless your device manufacturer states otherwise.
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