Oh no... what does this mean for my CPAP use?!
What to do when you have a cold while using CPAP is a common question in our clinics, especially this time of year. Since the most common type of CPAP mask covers your nose, this is a good question. Fortunately, there are some suggestions we can offer that may help!
First, remember that good sleep is important for your body to fight off those nasty viruses. You will want to wear your CPAP mask as much as possible. If you’ve tried everything below and you still can’t breathe through your nose, it is okay to take a few days off to recover. On the other hand, if you have chronic congestion or frequent colds, it is worth having a conversation with one of our sleep therapists on whether a full-face mask would be a good investment.
Your humidifier is your best friend. Using additional humidity when you have a cold or are congested helps moisturize your airway making it easier to breathe. Just like having a humidifier machine in your room, you want to take advantage of the one built into your machine. Increase your humidity level and you may need to insulate your tube to prevent rainout.
While you should not put anything other than distilled water in your water chamber, nasal sprays or saline rinses are safe and helpful. Be sure to use just before you go to bed for the most benefit. There are some excellent brands out there including HydraSense and NetiPot. You can get them in any pharmacy department.
As we said, if you find that you are constantly congested or get sick a lot, a full-face mask may be a good thing to keep in mind. You don’t have to use it all the time, but when you are a mouth-breather, this is your best option. Also, you may want to consider the purchase of a SoClean. This is an ozone-cleaner that removes 99.99% of viruses and bacteria from your equipment. It will make sure that there is nothing left in your mask, or tubing that will keep you from getting better. Lastly, you may need to have a conversation with your doctor. There may be medical intervention that can help with chronic congestion issues that will help you.
Feel better soon and sleep well!