Knowing how to prevent a sinus infection is crucial for treating sleep apnea with a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. CPAPs are a lifesaver for people who suffer from sleep apnea; however, sometimes, the side effects can cause discomfort and health issues if not appropriately addressed.

A sleep specialist may recommend CPAP machines for patients who have trouble sleeping, snoring, have insomnia related to sleep disruption, and participate in a sleep study to determine the best treatment. Reducing your risk of developing a sinus infection when using a CPAP is relatively easy. 

Your CPAP requires regular cleaning and maintenance like anything else you use daily.  Below are some helpful tips to help you minimize your risk of developing a CPAP-related sinus infection

Can a CPAP Cause a Sinus Infection?

It is not necessarily the CPAP itself that causes a sinus infection. Instead, when a CPAP machine isn’t appropriately maintained, it can lead to bacteria buildup that can cause an infection.

CPAP machines do not directly cause nasal or sinus infections. However, when misused or poorly maintained, bacteria may build up, leading to airway irritation and even a sinus infection. In addition, when the mask or tubing is not regularly cleaned, it makes an excellent environment for fungus and mold to grow, which can also increase your risk of developing a sinus infection.

How to Prevent a Sinus Infection When You Use a CPAP

The best way to minimize the risk of developing a sinus infection when using a CPAP machine is to ensure it is regularly maintained and cleaned correctly. Below, we will tell you the most important steps you can take to keep your CPAP machine clean.

#1. Clean Your CPAP Properly and Thoroughly

Cleaning and maintaining your CPAP equipment must be a priority, especially for those who experience chronic allergies. Your CPAP should be cleaned daily after waking up, including the cushions or nasal pillows, with mild soap and warm water.

It’s also important to empty and dry out your humidifier chamber and hang the hose to dry. In addition, make sure that you clean your humidifier chamber and hose weekly with soap and water to ensure it kills harmful bacteria. 

You can also purchase a specialized CPAP cleaner. These cleaners effectively reduce the risk of mold, bacteria, and fungus by further sanitizing the machine and its attachments.

#2. Replace the Air Filters in Your CPAP

CPAP machines have a disposable air filter. This filter should be changed once a month. If you use a CPAP machine with a reusable air filter, rinse it weekly and replace it every six months.

#3. Use Distilled Water in Your CPAP

Use distilled water to prevent developing adverse symptoms from CPAP use, such as nasal congestion, nosebleeds, and a stuffy nose. It is essential to note that mold and yeast thrive better in humid and hot environments, and your local tap water may be contaminated with microbes. 

Using distilled water in your CPAP machine will help to minimize health risks and reduce mineral buildup that can be left behind when you use tap water. It also reduces the risk of amoebal infections.

#4. Find the Best Humidifier Setting for You and Try a Heated Hose

While having heated humidification when using your CPAP may not reduce sinus infections, it does help alleviate issues associated with dryness in the airway. Using a humidifier can lead to condensation in the hose, and it is necessary to let the hose dry entirely after each use to avoid microbial growth.

Heated humidity helps to prevent mucosal dryness when using a CPAP. Another method to consider is to use a heated hose that will provide a consistent temperature, helping to reduce condensation buildup in the hose.

#5. Avoid Sharing Your CPAP and Disinfect When You Are Sick

Don’t share your CPAP with anyone else, including your mask, cushion, or tube, or use anyone else’s equipment. When you have a cold or are sick, take extra precautions and ensure you disinfect your equipment correctly during and after you experience any contagious illness. Always clean your mask and tubing to remove accumulated fluids or mucus to avoid reinfecting yourself.

DreamZz Sleep Center Is Here to Help You Get the Sleep You Deserve and Desire

Everyone deserves a great night’s sleep rather than waking up feeling tired and sleepy. For those with sleep apnea, learning how to minimize the risk of infection, reduce the severity of your symptoms, and get better overall sleep quality is crucial.

Dreamzz Sleep Center is here to help you! We will create a customized treatment plan tailored to your needs and ensure you have the knowledge and tools to get the best night’s sleep possible.

Our physician is fellowship-trained, Sleep Medicine board-certified, and will help you get the sleep you deserve. Contact us today to book an appointment.