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Multiple illnesses since starting CPAP

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Tulip44 +0 points · almost 2 years ago Original Poster

I started CPAP treatment about two months ago. I quickly got a 4-day flu (fever, chills), but it's flu season. But then I had a massive (apparent) sinus problems with unbelievable congestion. That was intense for 2-3 days. Then I got a cold, which has been going on for over a week. In recent years I've had no colds or illnesses. I realize this could be a coincidence, but is there reason to suspect the CPAP treatment? I wash my mask (nasal pillow) every morning. I refill the distilled water in the morning and then wash the tub every few days. I have a ResMed Airsense 10. People's thoughts?

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Biguglygremlin +0 points · almost 2 years ago Sleep Enthusiast

Hi Tulip44

Blame the robot that sneezed on the gear when it was being manufactured!

Getting settled into CPAP is a stressful business and often results in less sleep initially.

Both stress and lack of sleep can undermine immune function causing vulnerability to illness and a delayed recovery.

Then of course there is time and unforseen circumstances. Or just plain coincidence.

A grand conspiracy would be my preferred option but I don't think this forum is much help in that area.

Sorry for the attempted levity Tulip44. It's not fun being sick.

I am very slack with cleaning and hygiene and I don't feel that it puts me under any significant threat so hopefully it is just unfortunate timing and once you recover things will sort themselves out.

Antihistamines and nasal sprays might help in the process.

Getting enough sleep is the best cure and prevention but if it persists ........

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Ruby +0 points · almost 2 years ago Sleep Commentator

Hey Gremlin! You never know where those grand conspiracies might show up!! Tulip it could be coincidence that you started sinus issues at the same time as starting CPAP but who knows for sure? I will admit that like Gremlin, I don't clean mine like I should. I've been on CPAP for many years and just now have started having sinus issues that I'm pretty sure are from CPAP. Do you have a humidifier with yours? If I keep distilled water in mine with the humidifier going it helps.

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Sierra +0 points · almost 2 years ago Sleep Patron

The CPAP draws fresh air in from your room through a filter on the left side of the machine. It is compressed to provide the therapy pressure, and flows out through the humidifier to pick up moisture. The air then is supplied to the mask through a hose. Generally right at the mask there is a vent. Air continually flows out of that vent when you are breathing in and out. The air flow never reverses in the hose, so any contamination in your breath does not go back into the machine. The mask itself can get contaminated from your breath of course. But, essentially you are the only source of contamination, providing the air in your room and water in the humidifier are not contaminated. I'm not a medical professional, but I think that it is not possible to get a cold or the flu from yourself. You would already have it, and once you get over it, you are highly unlikely to get sick from the same virus again. So, despite the endless SoClean adverts on TV, I am not convinced that a CPAP machine is any kind of health risk given reasonable care.

I use undiluted vinegar to disinfect my mask and hose. I use vinegar first, then Dawn dish soap with water, and then a final rinse with water. I also clean out the humidifier reservoir using the same sequence. The vinegar is very good at removing any deposits which may accumulate over time.

This all said, a CPAP does pressurize your nose and throat. Your ear and sinuses are connected to your nose and throat, and gets pressurized to some extent as well. This can cause some some temporary discomfort in some people. If you are having this issue, you may want to see an ENT specialist for an opinion.

The short answer in my opinion is that with reasonable care and cleaning the CPAP machine should not cause flu and colds.

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sleeptech +0 points · almost 2 years ago Sleep Enthusiast

Nice summary Sierra. I agree about the So Clean as well - just a rip-off. I've never really understood why people think they catch a respiratory infection by using CPAP when they are breathing EXACTLY the same air they would be breathing without it. And the same pathogens.

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Sierra +0 points · almost 2 years ago Sleep Patron

Some other thoughts. All the AirSense 10 machines come with a heated humidifier. However, the heated ClimateLine hose is often an option. If you do not have the heated hose, you may want to consider getting one. It allows the automatic operation of the humidifier to give you the most humidification while preventing condensation inside the hose. It is reported that maintaining high humidity can reduce sinus issues. Another option the AirSense 10 has is a preheating mode. With the user menu you can initiate a preheating mode that brings your humidifier up to temperature before you go to bed, as long as it has 15 minutes or so to work.

Another issue is your mask. What type are you using? If you are using a nasal mask, or nasal pillow you can open your mouth in the night. Air escapes out of your mouth and you wake up with a dry mouth and sore throat. Some tape their mouths closed to prevent mouth leakage when using a nasal type mask. Using a full face mask is the other option, but with it you can still mouth breath and wake up with a dry mouth and sore throat.

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Tulip44 +0 points · almost 2 years ago Original Poster

Thank you for replies. I'm relieved that people are not responding with stories of how our CPAP make us sick! I appreciate the suggestions and will see what happens as I move forward. I'm sleeping quite well now, so that's encouraging.

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