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5 Simple Ways To Use Your CPAP When You Have A Cold Or Flu
As the weather cools down you’re more susceptible to catching a cold, or even worse the flu. For most people having a cold is bearable but if you suffer from snoring or sleep apnoea and you are being treated by CPAP therapy, a cold can be a nightmare.
Wearing a CPAP mask while suffering from a runny or stuffy nose, sore throat or a cough can be difficult. You may even feel like stopping treatment altogether until you feel well again. If you do decide to stop treatment, it could do you more harm than good.
This is the time when your body needs deep, restorative sleep to heal from your cold. The good news is that you can be more comfortable when using CPAP during a cold.
5 Tips For A Better Night’s Sleep And Faster Recovery
1. Try a CPAP Humidifier
You may be wondering what does a humidifier do and how can it help me? Humidifiers release steam or vapour into the air to increase the level of humidity.
Even when you aren’t suffering from a cold you may find that your CPAP machine dries out your nasal passages making your nose run, become stuffy or sneeze.
When you have a cold the air blown into your nostrils by your CPAP machine can be unbearable.
A heated humidifier helps relieve dryness and congestion by heating the water in your machine. Even without a cold, your CPAP therapy may be enhanced by using a heated humidifier. Many CPAP machines now come with a built-in humidifier. You can also use humidifiers that attach to your machine or a stand-alone humidifier in your room may provide relief.
2. Use a Full Face Mask
Using a nasal mask during a cold may be uncomfortable. Especially if your nose is blocked, you're more likely to breathe through your mouth which will affect your CPAP therapy.
A full face mask allows you to breathe through either your nose or mouth and is more comfortable during a cold compared to a nasal mask or nasal pillows.
If you suffer from allergies or regular colds having the option of a full face mask is worth the investment.
3. Change Your Sleeping Position
If it's comfortable to do so, try sleeping on your side if your nose is blocked.
Sinus pressure improves when your head is higher than your body.
When you lie down postnasal drip can build up and make your throat sore. Raise your head with extra pillows or a wedge pillow.
4. Try Decongestants or Nasal Sprays
Cold and flu tablets or nasal sprays can help keep your nasal passages clear.
There are lots of over the counter cold and flu tablets. Make sure your symptoms match what is listed on the box.
It's best to ask your pharmacist about the right medication to relieve your symptoms.
5. Change Your Air Pressure
You may need additional air pressure as part of your CPAP therapy if you have a blocked nose.
An easy way to do this is to use an auto-adjusting CPAP machine.
Traditional CPAP machines blow a single flow of air whereas an auto CPAP machine uses algorithms to blow pressure at automatically regulated intervals.
Auto CPAP machines only blow the minimum pressure needed to keep your airway open while you sleep.
If you suffer from colds regularly or you have seasonal allergies it may be worth investing in an auto CPAP machine for a more comfortable night’s sleep.
You may be tempted to take a break from CPAP when you have a cold. The good news is that you don’t have to. Following these simple tips not only helps you endure your CPAP therapy with a cold, it will also help you recover more quickly. Remember to clean your CPAP machine thoroughly during and after your cold.