The Importance Of A Clean CPAP Machine During COVID-19
As death tolls from the Covid-19 rise, people are urged to practice social distancing and good hygiene habits. People with higher risk of getting infected by the coronavirus include those with pre-existing respiratory conditions. During this period of time, it is normal for CPAP users to worry about their health condition and how to keep their equipment sanitary in order to reduce the risk for respiratory illness, which could potentially make them vulnerable to the coronavirus.
Why Should you Clean your CPAP Device?
The function of the CPAP machine is to make air flow into your throat and airways. As air travels from the tube to your mask, there is a likelihood for dust, bacteria and virus to accumulate on the plastic components. This makes users susceptible to respiratory illnesses including recurring cough, sinus infections or other more serious respiratory issues. If you do not clean your equipment properly, mold, bacteria and viruses will thrive and circulate in the air every time you use your CPAP device and this increases your risk of falling sick.
As the CPAP machine is a personal device, most of the contaminants in the CPAP system would usually come from you. As your face has direct contact with the mask attached to your device, naturally dead skin cells and facial oils will rub off your face onto the mask and then circulate through your CPAP equipment. When you breathe out, germs that you exhale can also cause bacteria to grow. Apart from your device simply smelling bad, you may suffer from sores, red rashes or even acne on your face. Skin irritation would be caused as the dead skin cells and oils are trapped in your mask and in contact with your face. Failing to clean your equipment could also cause your mask and tubing to become discolored due to bacterial buildup.
If your CPAP machine comes with a humidifier, bacteria would be able to thrive on the moisture produced. Although your breathing may become much more comfortable with the humidifier, the humidity actually causes the growth of viruses, yeast or mold, especially when the stagnant water inside is not changed on a regular basis.
Cleaning Your CPAP Machine
Cleaning your CPAP equipment in a sanitized basin or sink filled with warm water and mild dish soap should be done daily to reduce the risk for bacterial growth. The machine itself would not need to be washed but the mask, tubing and water chamber should. Apart from dish soap, vinegar can also be used. However, it is important to avoid heavily scented cleaning products or bleach as they could damage your equipment or cause irritation when you use your CPAP mask. Ensuring that all the equipment are properly air dried is also vital.
Alternatively if you do not have the time to thoroughly clean your equipment everyday, there are specialty cleaning and sanitation devices available that you can use.