Can You Use CPAP When You Have Colds?

Can You Use CPAP When You Have Colds?

This flu season it is normal to get colds and stuffy nose and you might wonder if it is still safe to use your CPAP machine. We all know that CPAP is an effective treatment for sleep apnea, but, if you become congested or have a sore throat or a cough, might it make this worse rather than better? There is a split answer.

CPAP may not work effectively if you have a self-limiting respiratory illness that impedes breathing. The machine is meant to provide you with a pressurized stream of air to prevent airway obstruction in otherwise normally functioning lungs. But if you have a cold and you want to continue your CPAP therapy, if you can you can still do so in a proper way.

As your doctor may suggest it is fine to take a break from using CPAP if you have a cold or stuffy nose. There will be no major side effects of abruptly stopping therapy. You may find that you have a residual benefit from the treatment, even several days into the break. This is because the inflammation and swelling of the tissues in the upper airway will take time to become affected again. Among some of the other reasons why you may consider giving CPAP a break:

  • Ear pressure
  • Ear pain
  • Persistent nasal congestion
  • Rhinorrhea (runny nose)
  • Nosebleeds
  • A sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea and vomiting

But if you and your doctor suggests you can still continue to use CPAP depending on your colds or situation here are some tips to make it easier for you:

  • Sleep on your side or elevate your head.
  • Use a heated humidifier.
  • Use a decongestant and nasal spray.
  • Try an APAP Machine.
  • If using a nasal mask, substitute it out for a full face CPAP mask.

It is still best to ask your doctor first. We also recommend regular cleaning and sanitizing of your CPAP to avoid getting sick over again. Here is a great product from VASTMEDIC that will help in the proper cleaning of your device: CPAP Cleaner and Sanitizer


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