Sore throat, runny nose, coughs, body aches … getting sick is the worst. And unfortunately, it’s that time of year again. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the flu season can start as early as October and run well into May.
While there are many things we all know about when it comes to preventing sickness (such as vaccinations and handwashing), patients using CPAP machines for sleep apnea can take a few extra steps to protect their health and recover from a cold/flu.
5 Tips for CPAP Users During Cold and Flu Season
1. Use Your CPAP Machine as Prescribed to Sleep Properly
A good night’s sleep is priceless – especially when it comes to your immune system. According to the Harvard Medical School, sleep plays a critical role in the functioning our immune system. If you’re not getting enough sleep (or quality sleep for that matter), your immune system can be adversely affected.
Using your CPAP machine consistently will help you get the sleep your immune system needs to function in top condition. If you have any questions about use of your machine, talk to your doctor or call our 24/7 clinical care team at 1-877-307-2727.
2. Regularly Clean Your CPAP Equipment
You wouldn’t go day after day without washing your hands, so don’t go night after night without cleaning your CPAP machine and parts. Keeping your equipment clean can help to flush out germs – and it only takes a few minutes each day. Check out our handy guide that not only explains how to clean, but also how often to clean.
3. Replace Your CPAP Supplies
Be honest: have you been replacing your filters, masks, and tubing every 1-3 months? If you are an insurance or Medicare patient, you may be covered for replacements for these various CPAP components according to this timetable. There’s a reason your supplies are covered with this frequency – it’s critical for you to replace them to ensure optimal functioning and hygiene (i.e. you can only clean the parts so many times before they need to be replaced).
Outside of this regular schedule, you may need to replace things like filters and tubing sooner if you are suffering from a bad cold or flu. Check with our clinical care team at 1-877-307-2727 to talk through any concerns regarding your replacement schedule. Nationwide Medical Direct also stocks a full array of CPAP supplies if you need to buy anything directly (versus through an insurer as part of your regular schedule).
4. Elevate Your Head While Sleeping
If you do catch a cold or the flu, laying down to rest seems to bring on the worst stuffed noses and sinus pressure. You can help your nose stay clear by using pillows to raise your head and neck. The Contour Wedge pillow is a great solution to slightly elevate your head to keep your sinuses draining.
5. Consider Different CPAP Options
Just because your CPAP configuration works the rest of the year doesn’t mean that a few tweaks can’t help during a nasty cold or flu. Some patients find that a heated humidifier (which helps to restore moisture levels in your airway) provides just the right level of comfort to help them breathe easier. Others decide to temporarily use a full face mask when their nasal mask is out of commission due to a fully stuffed nose. You can contact your doctor to inquire about a prescription for these and other CPAP changes that can help you breathe easier.
Nationwide Medical Inc. is the leader in sleep apnea support and CPAP/BiLevel machines and supplies. We have more than a decade of experience serving 100,000 patients with 24/7 clinical support. You can reach us at www.nationwidemedical.com or call 1-877-307-2727 (CPAP).