The dangers of not cleaning your CPAP machine

3 danger signs your CPAP machine might be making you ill

CPAP is the gold standard treatment for sleep apnea. But not looking after your machine could give you even more health problems.

Are you part of the estimated 46 million people in the U.S. affected by sleep apnea? Do you use a CPAP machine for treatment but have found yourself using your device less and less because it feels like it takes a lifetime to clean?

While it may seem like a hassle to upkeep your CPAP equipment, it’s an important device that is vital for your health – that is, as long as it is effectively and frequently cleaned.

While CPAP therapy doesn’t cure sleep apnea, those who faithfully follow this treatment do in fact experience significant relief from the symptoms of sleep apnea. But, are you actually giving your CPAP machine the TLC it needs?

Just like you have to brush your teeth everyday with a clean toothbrush for optimal dental health. The same goes for your CPAP machine – a dirty machine impacts the healthy breathing experience during sleep and could have negative health consequences. How do you know if your CPAP machine is on the icky side? Well, here are three common signs:

1) You keep getting sick – Germs are everywhere, and they can easily thrive inside your CPAP equipment. Many CPAP users report frequent sinus infections and other illnesses once they begin CPAP therapy, and in many cases this could be resulting from dirty CPAP equipment. Break the vicious cycle and keep your sleep equipment safe for daily use.

2) What is that smell? – If your CPAP smells like mildew, it might indicate that there may be pathogens present inside your equipment. CPAP machines can be breeding grounds for unwanted guests that like to grow in damp, warm environments. Don’t keep the welcome mat out for them by using equipment that is not completely dry and meticulously cleaned.

3) Irritated Skin – Over time, CPAP masks can absorb the oil and dirt on your face. Coming into direct contact with this may cause your skin to become irritated. Irritated skin can also be caused if your mask doesn’t fit properly – but the more likely culprit is a dirty mask.

If you develop a regular CPAP cleaning routine, you will develop the necessary healthy habit of effectively cleaning all of the equipment to stay with the therapy. I know you are probably asking, “who actually likes to devote 15-30 minutes everyday to cleaning their CPAP machine?”

Trust me, I get it, I have seen first-hand how time consuming and complicated cleaning a CPAP machine can be through my wife. Watching her struggle with disassembling the mask, hoses and reservoir – then attempting to clean inside every fold and interior, was cumbersome and tedious. But ask yourself this, has your CPAP therapy resulted in a good night’s rest? Certainly the focus on keeping the device clean is a small tradeoff for better health outcomes!

Not many of us are comfortable opting out of showering or washing our hair on a daily basis. It is not good for appearances and can be a bit stinky. The same concept applies to your CPAP device- don’t let it get smelly before you do something about it. Hope this is a wake up call to make you think about the cleanliness of your CPAP machine, as it can be one of the dirtiest items in your home. Isn’t your health and time worth it?

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