Figures show that up to 18 million Americans suffer from Sleep Apnea every single year. If untreated, sleep apnea, will make the patient’s life unbearable. If you are not getting enough sleep during the night, it will be almost impossible to work efficiently during the day.
CPAP therapy is touted as the gold standard when it comes to treating sleep apnea. Just in case you are wondering, CPAP is an acronym that stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. CPAP therapy is administered using a CPAP machine.
The CPAP machine produces a constant flow of air to the patient while they sleep using a mask that goes over their mouth and/or nose. The CPAP machine provides a continuous flow of air into the throat hence preventing the airways from collapsing.
People suffering from sleep apnea have their airways collapse, which is primarily responsible for keeping them awake at night.
Causes of A Dirty CPAP Machine
The leading cause of dirty CPAP machines is dirty CPAP filters. When the filters get contaminated with dust and dirt, you could end up with harmful bacteria getting trapped within the CPAP filters which would spell doom for any patient.
By consistently changing the air filters on your CPAP machine, the patient will experience a better quality of sleep in addition to the overall health of your lungs. A clean air filter not only means that the patient will get better sleep, but will also lengthen the life of the CPAP machine. The better care you take of your machine, the more money you will save in future as you will not have to buy a new machine.
This makes perfect sense especially when you consider that sleep apnea cannot be cured.
When To Clean Your Filter
Even though most components of a CPAP machine require replacement every few months, the CPAP filters need to be either cleaned or replaced on a monthly basis. If the patient’s home has pets or smokers, it should be replaced even more frequently.
Replacing The Filter
Buying a CPAP filter is easy and affordable and can be done online. Most shops will price filters anywhere between $5 and $10. Usually, these filters will last a month or even longer, as long as they are thoroughly cleaned.
Types Of CPAP Filters
There are different types of CPAP filters. Some are made from foam while others have finer filtration and include a paper material that is disposable. There are also filters that are hypoallergenic. Foam filters should be regularly cleaned with a gentle detergent. They should also be replaced on a monthly basis.
If you happen to notice that there is an issue with airflow, chances are it has something to do with the filters. For instance, there is a correlation between clogged filters and the amount of air flow in the CPAP machine.
Accumulation of Natural Oils on the CPAP Mask
Natural oils from your skin and hair accumulate on the CPAP mask consequently binding together dust and dirt particles. Before long, you will have exposed yourself to bacteria.
Unwashed masks harbor germs and might have an odor. Patients with sleep apnea use the CPAP mask to breathe while they sleep. When used with a heated humidifier, the CPAP machine creates a warm and moist environment inside their masks which is perfect for the growth and reproduction of viruses, bacteria, and fungi.
To prevent this from happening, we recommend that you should wash your hands and face before putting on your mask which will in effect the reduction of buildup.
Hot Breath Condensation
Apart from dirty filters and natural oils building up on your face mask, condensation from the patient’s hot breath combined with the bacteria normally found in the human breath can result in bacteria and mold growth.
In addition, air flow to your airways might be restricted. This would mean that your machine is inefficient as well as unhygienic.
To avoid any of the scenarios above, we recommend that you clean your machine daily. Many people only realize that their machine is dirty after having used it for a couple of weeks, but by that point, the damage has already been done.
Replacement Schedule To Follow
In order to keep your machine in excellent condition, you need to be committed to cleaning it regularly as well as maintaining a consistent replacement schedule. We recommend the following replacement schedule:
- Once a month you need to replace the cushions, pillows, as well as disposable filters.
- Once every three months you will need to replace the mask frames this will include a full oral, nasal, and face masks. Replace the tubing well.
- After every 6 months you should replace the chinstraps and CPAP headgear as well as the humidifier chamber and non-disposable filters.