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Started Using Humidifier On CPAP Machine, Instantly Got Sick

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BDP87 +0 points · over 4 years ago Original Poster

So a little over a week ago I called a CPAP tech about some issues I posted on here (dry mouth in morning, API's went up, nasal congestion). He thought maybe the cold air from the AC was making the air too dry and interfering with my breathing a bit. He suggested I start using the humidifier on the lowest setting (1). I have the ResMed AirSense 10.

The first night or two, I felt some relief, and the APIs actually went back down to what they normally were. It seemed to be working out well. Fast forward to about three days ago. I started feeling some chest congestion. Thought nothing of it. Then yesterday, woke up and it was considerably worse, and I even started hacking up some nasty, green mucus, which eventually subsided over the course of the day.

I've already started a dose of antibiotics to rid myself of whatever the heck this is, but I can't help but correlate using the humidifier to suddenly hacking up thick, green mucus. I was told that in the event of a cold, it's actually BETTER to have a humidifier, to "loosen up" the gunk in your chest. Still, I am now afraid to use it. I used it reluctantly last night after cleaning out all the tubing and water tank, and then convinced myself that the tubing needed to be cleaned again today because I am sick, so I did it all over again and now I am leaning more towards not using it at all.

Now, I don't know what to do. I am scared that I may get pneumonia or something else nasty, and I really want to avoid this situation again. What do I do? Do I stop using the humidifier? Do I stay the course? I have had a bit of a history in the past with upper respiratory infections, but have not had any trouble in quite some time until this issue.

Can someone offer some advice?

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psilver +0 points · over 4 years ago

Are you using tap water or distilled water in your humidifier? If you're using tap water, STOP. Buy a jug of distilled water (not drinking water or spring water) and use that. Tap water contains bacteria, and breathing that in through forced air can make you sick.

Are you cleaning the water reservoir every morning after dumping out the water from the previous night? Are you dumping out the remaining water even? If you aren't, bacteria can start forming in there, which can make you sick. Dump out remaining water, dry the reservoir, and periodically use an antibacterial cleaner.

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BDP87 +0 points · over 4 years ago Original Poster

I'm starting to think that the humidifier was never an issue and that it may be more of a mask issue because I had the original problem last night even with the humidifier. Seems like when the leak numbers go up is when I have more apneas.

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BDP87 +0 points · over 4 years ago Original Poster

I have been using spring water. I was told it was no big deal.

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wiredgeorge +0 points · over 4 years ago Sleep Enthusiast

You might want to start verifying the things you are told. If someone on this forum gives you really bad advice (like using spring water), they would be gently corrected for making this type statement. I can imagine that the spring water is filtered and safe to drink but has some bacteria in it. If so and you use that heated water tank, you are creating soup perhaps. If you are forced to use bottled water once in awhile such as when traveling and clean the water tank well when you get a chance, it likely won't hurt but extended use of bottled water especially if the tank is NOT cleaned daily is likely a recipe for, well a fish tank water experience.

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psilver +0 points · over 4 years ago

That's your problem. Use distilled water only. Spring water is loaded with bacteria. It's fine for drinking, because your stomach acid kills it all. But your nasal tissue has no such protection, and the bacteria are getting in there and making you sick. Not sure who told you spring water was no big deal, but it definitely is.

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