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Do CPAP Users Have a Greater Risk of Getting the Flu?

Nobody likes getting sick — even if it means getting a day off from work or school. With flu season in full swing, it’s becoming harder and harder to avoid it. Did you know that if you’re a CPAP user, you are more susceptible to getting sick? Especially if your CPAP isn’t as clean as it could be. According to a 2014 study, CPAP users were 32% more likely to get sick than others. So how do CPAP users make sure their chances of catching the flu this year are minimized?

The Flu on the Rise

As reported by the CDC, the amount of influenza activity has increased this year in the U.S., with more people getting sick this year than previous years. In the image below, you can see how much the flu has spread in less than 2 months.

time lapse showing an increase of influenza

This certainly is bad news, but don’t panic! There are steps you can take to ensure your chances of getting sick are greatly reduced.


Get Vaccinated

According to the CDC, getting vaccinated allows your body to produce antibodies, meaning your immune system is more prepared to resist the flu and diminishes your risk of catching it. While there are different ways the vaccine can be administered, the CDC recommends getting a shot this year, rather than the nasal spray. Everyone over 6 months old should get a flu shot every year, as it is really the best way to prevent influenza. There are rare cases in which certain individuals should not receive the flu shot. Please click here to find out if you should not get a flu vaccine.


Practice Sanitary Habits

While getting vaccinated is a great start, it’s not a cure-all or an excuse to slack on some important sanitary habits.
  1. If you need to cough or sneeze, make sure you cover your nose and mouth with a tissue to prevent the spread of germs.
  2. Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  3. Your eyes, nose, and mouth are the most vulnerable areas for germs, so do your best to avoid touching them.
  4. Keep surfaces that are likely to carry the flu (like your cell phone or door knobs) clean and sanitized.
  5. Avoid those who are sick. If you get sick yourself, please take a sick day. Even if you don’t want to miss work, your co-workers will thank you.


Make Sure Your CPAP is Clean


If you do not regularly clean your CPAP equipment, it can become a prime breeding ground for all sorts of pathogens! The dark, warm, and moist environment of a CPAP reservoir is the perfect home for germs and bacteria to grow and spread illness. Those with sleep apnea already have a weakened immune system, and if you don’t stick to a regular cleaning schedule, your chances of getting sick greatly increase. We recommend following your manufacturer's instructions for how often you should clean your CPAP equipment. We know CPAP equipment can be difficult to clean and cumbersome to maintain. Microbiologist K. Mark Wiencek, Ph.D. states, “use of an antimicrobial agent may appear to be the sole missing ingredient to solve [medical-device related] problems”. Are you tired of hand-washing your equipment every week (or possibly every day)? Do you feel like your CPAP equipment is never really clean? If so, the SoClean CPAP Sanitizer is your solution. It is the antimicrobial agent that will effortlessly keep your CPAP equipment sanitized. The SoClean kills 99.9% of CPAP germs, bacteria, and other pathogens without the use of water or messy chemicals. It is also fully automated, so all you have to do is place your CPAP mask into the chamber— the SoClean will take care of the rest! You can learn more about the SoClean or try it risk-free here.All these tips will help your chances of avoiding the flu this year. If you do get sick, be sure to ask your doctor about the most appropriate treatment option. Stay healthy, everyone!