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Feeling Under the Weather? How to Use Your CPAP During Colds, Flus and Respiratory Tract Infections

by / Monday, 08 June 2015 / Published in Sleep Apnea and CPAP

Using your CPAP when you’re sick can be a challenge.

Trying to get a good night’s rest when you have a cold, flu or respiratory tract infection is challenging enough in and of itself, but for sleep apnea sufferers who use CPAP therapy, it can feel down right impossible. After all, nasal congestion, a sore throat, a cough and a headache are all bad enough without a mask attached to your face.

Unfortunately, this element of discomfort causes many sleep apnea patients to temporarily halt their CPAP therapy until they’re feeling better, but diligent CPAP compliance is of utmost importance – especially when you’re sick and you rely on sleep more than ever to help ease your body back into good health.

So, what’s a sleep apnea sufferer to do to ensure that CPAP compliance is as bearable as possible during a harsh cold, flu or respiratory tract infection? Better Rest Solutions recommends following these helpful tips:

Use a heated humidifier. CPAP air is known to dry out airways and nasal passages, and when your nose is already congested from being sick, this is the last thing you need. Many sleep apnea patients use heated humidifiers regularly – even when they’re feeling healthy – because these devices are known for making CPAP therapy much more comfortable. If you don’t already use one, you’ll definitely want to consider getting a heated humidifier for when you have a cold to restore moisture levels and ease inflamed nasal passages. 

Try an over-the-counter nasal spray. Treating your cold, flu or respiratory tract infection symptoms can make using your CPAP more bearable, and a great place to start is with nasal congestion. Talk to your doctor and see if he or she can recommend an over-the-counter nasal spray. These formulas help to clear out your nasal passages and bring you some much-needed relief so you can use your CPAP mask more comfortably.

Full-face masks are your friends. If nasal sprays just aren’t doing the trick and you typically use a nasal mask, that’s not really going to work out too well since nasal masks require you to breathe through your nose. This is when a full-face mask can come in handy, as it will allow you to breathe out of your mouth while your nose is recovering.

Switch to sleeping on your side temporarily. Three words: post-nasal drip. Lying on your back can worsen this accumulation of excessive mucous in the nose and throat, so if this is your usual sleeping position, you should try sleeping on your side until your cold, flu or respiratory tract infection subsides. If you absolutely must sleep on your back, use some extra pillows to keep your head elevated. 


The SoClean destroys 99.9% of CPAP germs.

When you’re feeling under the weather, it’s more important than ever to keep your CPAP clean. Otherwise you’ll just keep breathing in all those nasty sick germs. Gross, right? For easy cleaning, consider the SoClean Automated CPAP Equipment Cleaner. The SoClean destroys 99.9% of CPAP germs in your mask, hose and reservoir – no disassembly required! In fact, many people who use the SoClean have noticed that they aren’t as prone to getting sick as they were before.

Click here to learn more about the SoClean: https://www.soclean.com/soclean/.