Tips For COVID-19 Positive Patients On CPAP
Contracting COVID-19 is a troubling thought, more so now that the Omicron variant is running rampant after the holidays. According to Public Health Ontario, the Omicron strain is at least as transmissible as Delta, if not more. If infected, patients using CPAP or APAP machines may worry about the possible negative effects of continual machine usage. The good news is, there is currently no data suggesting obstructive sleep apnea by itself can put you at higher risk of contracting coronavirus. There's also no evidence of an increase in COVID symptom severity because of it.
If you do happen to show symptoms or have tested positive for COVID, do consult your primary care physician before stopping treatment. For those continuing CPAP or APAP use during COVID, below are some safety measures you can take while on the road to recovery.
Self-Isolate With Your CPAP or APAP Machine
If you are COVID positive, it’s best to isolate yourself in a separate bedroom and use a separate bathroom. The virus spreads through respiratory droplets produced when someone coughs, sneezes, talk and even when they breathe. Perhaps you may not any visible symptoms, but there are concerns about the virus spreading through the exhalation port where the carbon dioxide usually escapes from. These aerosolized fine particles carrying the virus can remain in the air for a few hours, meaning bed partners can inhale said particles. Therefore, it is advised to self-quarantine as much as possible.
Cleaning Your Equipment
With or without covid symptoms, it’s best practice to clean and disinfect your CPAP or APAP devices according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Perhaps even use a automated CPAP sanitizers like the Lumin or SoClean2 to speed up the daily process. Do thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water prior to and after handling the CPAP device, mask, tubing and filters.
*Keeping it clean: CPAP hygiene (Philips)
*How to clean your CPAP equipment (ResMed)
Clean Surrounding Surfaces As Well
While cleaning your machine is important, COVID-19 can remain on surfaces for long periods of time. COVID can be spread by touching a surface that has the virus on it, then touching your face with those same hands. Don’t just focus on the CPAP machine, surfaces that you frequently encounter should be cleaned as well. Things like the side table that your machine sits on, areas where mask and tubing are cleaned and especially cell phones. Those handheld devices are not sanitized as often as they should.
Replacing CPAP Supplies
There’s no need to replace your CPAP mask, hose and filter more frequently if you are COVID positive. During your quarantine and recovery, just follow the manufacturer recommended parts replacement schedule as needed. In ResMed’s case, they advise patients to replace the mask cushion and air filter every month, mask frame and tubing every 3 months, and mask headgear and humidifier tub every 6 months. Once fully recovered from COVID, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine does advise that you replace your CPAP supplies.
The information above is for educational use only. For specific medical advice, do consult your primary care physician. If you have any questions about CPAP supplies or the machine itself, our experienced team at EssentialAir CPAP will be more than happy to help.
Stay safe and healthy everyone!