Everything You Need to Know About COVID-19 and Your CPAP.

April 29, 2020

The health and safety of our patients is our top priority.  

Here is our response to the outbreak of the coronavirus, and our recommendations.

 

 

Our response

Patient Support:

  • We are committed to providing our patients with the care that they need during this crucial time of demand and are remaining open for business.

  • We are proactively working with our suppliers to ensure that we have the necessary quantities of the products you need available and in stock.

  • We are currently offering flexible payment plans and 60-day payment extensions for those who are struggling financially during these challenging times.

Employee Support:

  • We have not furloughed any employees, and still have positions open for hiring.

  • We have temporarily suspended the option to pick-up equipment from our storefront location to limit physical contact, and swiftly transitioned the majority of our employees to a work-from-home model.

  • For the limited amount of essential personnel on site, we installed additional sanitation stations and antibacterial hand-dispensers. We immediately increased our janitorial services so that our workspace is deeply cleaned on a daily basis.

Community Support:

  • We quickly acquired ventilators and provided them to our local hospitals.

  • After learning of a local hospital’s dire need of resources and that their employees were forced to re-use their N95 masks, we donated a UV Cleaner and Sanitizer to completely disinfect their items before and after each shift.

  • Upon learning that local Respiratory Therapists working in surrounding nursing homes were doing so without proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) we donated and delivered masks to be utilized.

 

Our recommendations

“It is vitally important to keep everything as clean as possible, as hoses/tubing and masks can be a prime breeding ground for bacteria and mold,” said Phoebe Ochman, director of Communications for Sleep Apnea Treatment Centers of America.

 

Cleaning Instructions:

  • Add warm water to a bathtub or sink.

  • Mix in a mild soap. Some patients prefer baby soap, the Neutralizing Pre-Wash by SoClean, or a 50/50 solution of water and white vinegar.

  • Swirl around for a few minutes and then rinse thoroughly.

  • Leave all items to hang/air dry. Be sure to dry the chamber as much as possible with a paper towel or cloth, and then leave it out to air dry the rest of the way.

  • Clean all high-touch surfaces like nightstands, doorknobs, and light switches daily with a disposable wipe or a cloth and an EPA approved disinfectant.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the restroom; and before eating or preparing food.

  • If soap and water are not readily available for hand-washing, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.

Critical Humidifier Water Chamber Tips:

  • Do not use bleach or other harsh chemicals.

  • Empty unused humidifier water daily and refill nightly.

  • Distilled water is recommended for your water chamber to prevent scaling or build-up from hard minerals. No access to distilled water? Try bottled water, filtered water, or if you must, tap water.

  • If continued use of non-distilled water, a back-up chamber should be kept on hand to immediately replace if residue develops. Insurance covers a new humidifier water chamber every 6 months, or you can purchase an extra on your own at any time.

 

FAQ

Can I still use my CPAP machine if I have COVID-19?

Generally, it is not recommended to use your machine if you have COVID-19 with a bed partner because it can disperse into the air like an aerosol spray and emit tiny particles, which then increases potential exposure.  However, if you rely on a CPAP/Bi-level device to treat your sleep apnea, abruptly discontinuing therapy may cause harm to your overall health. Quality sleep is known to boost your immune system and using your CPAP helps to ensure you are receiving quality sleep. Always seek medical advice before discontinuing any prescribed treatment – including your CPAP machine.

 

If I am hospitalized for COVID-19, should I bring my CPAP with me?

Most hospitals are declining any equipment that is brought into the hospital as it is considered contaminated, and biomed cannot be exposed to inspecting the devices. Please leave your equipment at home but make sure to inform hospital staff of your therapy needs and your current pressure setting.

 

Why the need for ventilators?

One of the main symptoms that affects a person who has tested positive with the coronavirus is shortness of breath  (severe hypoxemia). The correct term for this severe shortness of breath is being observed as ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome) and this condition has a high mortality rate. ARDS patients have build-up fluid in the alveoli (the tiny air sacs in the lungs that transfer oxygen to the blood and remove carbon dioxide). Ventilators helps to keep the patient breathing adequately, giving the patient time to fight off the virus. While ventilators don’t treat the virus per se, they do give the patient a chance to fight back and lower the odds of dying from the virus.

 

What’s the difference between a CPAP and a ventilator?

CPAP, Bi-level, and Ventilator machines are all designed to help treat patients with breathing disorders. Pressurized air is used in all three units to help keep the airways open.  A CPAP machine supports the inhalation of airflow, whereas a Bi-level or ventilator supports inhalation and exhalation. However, ventilators are typically only used for those who cannot breathe on their own, have severe respiratory diseases, and/or in acute settings. Also, CPAP and Bi-level machines are considered "open circuit," which means that because of the continuous flow of air and exhalation ports on the masks, air easily escapes into the room.  A patient that has COVID-19 and is using CPAP or Bi-level needs to follow their physician's guidelines and ensure that no uninfected family member enters the room that the patient is using CPAP and/or Bi-level in.  The virus could potentially be all over the room because of the open circuit, and not just on the surfaces that the patient has touched. Invasive ventilators are different because they are a "closed circuit" and the airflow remains in the circuit, so no COVID-19 can escape while a patient is using an invasive vent.

 

Can I donate my CPAP to help the Ventilator Shortage?

Across the country, there is a shortage of the ventilators that hospitals need to provide care for people who have COVID-19. Multiple groups are developing strategies to modify PAP machines so that they can be used as ventilators. One of these groups is the COVID-19 Ventilator Rapid Response Team, a coalition that includes UC Berkeley engineers, emergency room doctors, critical care physicians, and pulmonologists. They also have set up a website, VentilatorSOS.com, where you can fill out a form to indicate that you are interested in donating a CPAP or Bi-level machine.

 

What else do you suggest?

  • If you have fever, cough or difficulty breathing, seek medical care early.

  • Stay informed and follow advice given by your healthcare provider.

  • For more information, we encourage you to visit the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 resource pages.

 

As always, we are here for you.  We hope these precautions and techniques are helpful, and we thank you for being a valued addition in our CPAP care community.

 

Still have questions? Speak with an expert.

(877) 307-2727

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