When you think of a sleep apnea patient, you may think of an overweight, elderly person. While it is true that sleep apnea is more likely to be diagnosed in older people, children can also suffer from this . Up to five percent of children in the United States suffer from sleep apnea, and many of them go undiagnosed as parents are not aware that something can be done for them. A doctor with experience in sleep disorders can diagnose and treats kids between the ages of 2 and 8–years–old for the syndrome. Juvenile patients are likely to be recommended to use a CPAP machine to treat the symptoms, including snoring, lack of restful sleep and waking several times a night.
How Does Childhood Sleep Apnea Affect Patients?
- Inaccurate diagnosis of ADHD
- Delayed development and growth
How Are Children Treated for Sleep Apnea?
Depending on the child’s overall health, the severity of the sleep apnea and the underlying cause, your doctor may recommend a to determine a diagnosis. Sleep studies can be difficult for children, as they have to sleep in a foreign environment for several hours, so the doctor can get enough data to make a diagnosis. Once the diagnosis is given, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove the tonsils and adenoids. Removal of these obstructions in the airway can make it easier to breathe at night without the airway closing. However, if this is not a viable solution for your child, your doctor may recommend using a CPAP machine to provide relief. In addition to the CPAP machine, you’ll also need to get a CPAP cleaner and sanitizer to maintain the machine.
How Does a CPAP Machine Work on a Child Sized Patient?
Children get relief from a CPAP machine in much the same way that adults do. The machine creates pressurized air that filters through the mask and delivers continuous pressure as the child sleeps to keep the airway propped open. Once you remedy the closing of the airway, your child can get to sleep and stay asleep, providing the restful slumber that a young body needs. In addition to these forms of treatment, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes to improve your child’s overall health. This may mean making changes to diet, exercise, and sleep habits to promote better sleep. Small adjustments, like turning off electronics half an hour before bed or getting at least thirty minutes of exercise a day, can help naturally solve the sleep issues that plague your child.
What Other Equipment Will You Need?
In addition to the CPAP machine, you’ll need a method to keep it clean over time. With humidity going through the tubing and mask, mold and bacteria can start to grow from the amount of moisture deposited in these areas. Proper use of a CPAP machine includes the process of keeping it clean weekly to eliminate any byproducts that shouldn’t enter the air supply. If your child is too young to be responsible for cleaning the machine without your help, you’ll need to help them sanitize the machine, mask, and tubing once a week. Using an ozone-based cleaning system, like VirtuCLEAN, will help you keep the machine bacteria free and stop mold growth before it can take hold. Proper sanitizing each week will help you be sure these elements are gone before they have a chance to enter your child’s airway. Using a CPAP cleaner and sanitizer like VirtuCLEAN makes this process much more manageable. The hands-free operation means that all you must do is place the components in the sterile bag and press the button to start the cycle. The rest is done for you with no scrubbing or excess effort required.