Question for CPAP users

drummerboy

I've been seeing these scary commercials about the deadly threat of un-sanitized CPAP machines, and I can't figure out what they're talking about.

I've been using a CPAP for 20 years, and I can count the times I've cleaned the hose and mask on one hand. Maybe two.Or maybe one.

Am I risking my health? Am I all alone in these loose standards of CPAP cleanliness?


p.s. Creating this thread makes me think we should have a Health category.



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John

While the cleaning machine saves time, it takes about 5 minutes to hand clean the equipment. I suspect the biggest danger from not washing and drying every day is with mold. Two different physicians I use both asked if I used one and cleaned it on a daily basis.

What happens if you are wrong?


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drummerboy

I have never, ever had a problem with mold or smell or anything like that - even when I used a humidifier attachment.  I think regular, daily use (I have literally used it very night but about one or two over twenty years) naturally prevents anything from growing in there - maybe from the drying effect of a constant airflow of 8 hours every day. Nothing ever has much of a chance to dig in and start growing.

I read somewhere that the only germs that might end up in there would be your own germs anyway, so no harm. Not sure how true that is. I like my "drying out" theory better.



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John

Then why did you post the question?


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drummerboy

Because I'd like some other opinions? Because I don't like commercials that try to scare people?

Has anyone ever experienced a noticably dirty CPAP that required a cleaning?


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John


drummerboy said:

....

Has anyone ever experienced a noticably dirty CPAP that required a cleaning?

That is an interesting question... 


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qrysdonnell

I haven't had a CPAP for as long, but it's been a while - perhaps 10 years. With my humidifier my latest CPAP opens up and I empty it out and let it dry every day. My insurance replaces the tubing periodically, but I don't wash them weekly like they they I should. Mold will develop if I let the chamber with water sit covered for a 'a while' (anything beyond a few hours, definitely if it goes all day) when the unit isn't on. I'm not dead or in any state of constant sickness, so... fine for now.




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weirdbeard

I believe directions for my equipment say that the mask should be cleaned daily, and the tubing, elastic headpiece and water chamber should be cleaned weekly.  I certainly don't do it that often, especially since my insurance replaces all of that periodiclally too, as long as I remember to stay on top that and prompt the replacement.  I try to clean the mask stuff weekly and the rest of the gear at least monthly, as I've allowed the water chamber to get a bit funky in the past and have noticed a moldy smell coming through -- not good.  My dad runs his gear though the dishwasher daily, but I'm not sure that's a good idea....

I am looking at that cleaner/sanitizer, though, but it's not cheap.



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qrysdonnell

My directions say to 'wipe' the mask daily to make sure that dirt and oils aren't getting in the way of the seal. Which is pretty much just your standard over cautionary directions. Maybe my face is just less dirty than the rest.

weirdbeard said:

I believe directions for my equipment say that the mask should be cleaned daily, and the tubing, elastic headpiece and water chamber should be cleaned weekly.  I certainly don't do it that often, especially since my insurance replaces all of that periodiclally too, as long as I remember to stay on top that and prompt the replacement.  I try to clean the mask stuff weekly and the rest of the gear at least monthly, as I've allowed the water chamber to get a bit funky in the past and have noticed a moldy smell coming through -- not good.  My dad runs his gear though the dishwasher daily, but I'm not sure that's a good idea....



I am looking at that cleaner/sanitizer, though, but it's not cheap.



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nakaille

Speaking of c-paps, which I cannot use because of the combination of claustrophobic reaction/noise and general discomfort, what alternatives have folks used that you feel really help?  I recently started using a product from China that helps some (according to my wife!) It's a little plastic thing that basically keeps the nares wide open.  Kind of like those breathe-right strips except without the daily irritation of ripping it off my nose.  


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drummerboy

Some time ago I was hearing lots of ads on the radio about some sort of implant device which treated apnea in people who couldn't tolerate the CPAP. I looked into it a bit before deciding that I wasn't really a candidate. Might be worth looking into though.

It's called Inspire

https://www.inspiresleep.com/what-is-inspire-therapy/how-inspire-therapy-works/


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mumstheword


nakaille said:

Speaking of c-paps, which I cannot use because of the combination of claustrophobic reaction/noise and general discomfort, what alternatives have folks used that you feel really help?  I recently started using a product from China that helps some (according to my wife!) It's a little plastic thing that basically keeps the nares wide open.  Kind of like those breathe-right strips except without the daily irritation of ripping it off my nose.  

How long ago did you use the CPAP?  Mine hardly makes any noise -- I have to look at the light to make sure it's on/off.  I also use a sleepweaver fabric mask which just goes over the nose.  It's lightweight and works well.

As to the OP's questions. I wash out the water reservoir every so often, and I wash the sleepweaver mask weekly.  I change both the hose and the mask every 90 days, which is what Medicare covers.  I've been using it for over 10 years and haven't had a problem.


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drummerboy

Have never heard of the sleepweaver mask, will have to check it out. I always have a problem with my mask (a ResMed over the nose mask) coming loose during the evening. Though that may be due to the odd shape of my extra-large head, which somehow makes my headgear slide around during the night.

I rarely use the humidifier attachment, which I think is another reason I don't seem to have any cleaning issues.

Medicare covers 90 day replacements? That's pretty good. Mine is only every 6 months - which reminds me, I think I'm due for a replacement now.

And I agree on the lack of noise in modern units. They've gotten quite quiet.

eta: can you tell us what style you use? I've posted a picture of some of them below.

mumstheword said:



nakaille said:

Speaking of c-paps, which I cannot use because of the combination of claustrophobic reaction/noise and general discomfort, what alternatives have folks used that you feel really help?  I recently started using a product from China that helps some (according to my wife!) It's a little plastic thing that basically keeps the nares wide open.  Kind of like those breathe-right strips except without the daily irritation of ripping it off my nose.  

How long ago did you use the CPAP?  Mine hardly makes any noise -- I have to look at the light to make sure it's on/off.  I also use a sleepweaver fabric mask which just goes over the nose.  It's lightweight and works well.

As to the OP's questions. I wash out the water reservoir every so often, and I wash the sleepweaver mask weekly.  I change both the hose and the mask every 90 days, which is what Medicare covers.  I've been using it for over 10 years and haven't had a problem.



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qrysdonnell

I've always used the RedMed Nasal Pillows, which look a lot smaller than those you posted which seem to come in two styles, Bane and Hannibal Lecter.



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mfpark

Started using nasal pillows after years of using a nasal mask.  The mask often slipped and made a lot of noise for my wife (since I am deaf once I take my hearing aids out it is not an issue for me).

The nasal pillows are a lot quieter for me.  And I was able to grow my mustache back with them!  The mask was uncomfortable with a mustache.


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qrysdonnell

I only ever have used the nasal pillows at home, and they're quite civilized. I had to do another sleep test a while back and they started it with one of those ginormous masks that covered my whole nose and it was like I was a deformed unicorn or something. While I'm sure if there was no other option I could get used to it, but it seemed pretty insane after having been used to the pillows.

mfpark said:

Started using nasal pillows after years of using a nasal mask.  The mask often slipped and made a lot of noise for my wife (since I am deaf once I take my hearing aids out it is not an issue for me).

The nasal pillows are a lot quieter for me.  And I was able to grow my mustache back with them!  The mask was uncomfortable with a mustache.



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drummerboy

I've tried the pillows but I can't seem to ever get them to work. I'm stuck using an over the nose mask.


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nakaille

The pillows don't work for me, either.  The ResMed machine I got is about 3 years old.  I tried several different types of masks.  


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drummerboy

it took me a few months before I was able to sleep through the night with the mask when I first started. I used to just take it off my head at some point while I was sleeping, though I couldn't remember doing it. Maybe you need to give it more time?

nakaille said:

The pillows don't work for me, either.  The ResMed machine I got is about 3 years old.  I tried several different types of masks.  



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nakaille

I gave it several months and then gave up because I became aggravated every time either a sensation or noise woke me up and that certainly was not helpful for my rest.  This is why I am asking about other alternatives.


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drummerboy

just checking.  grin


nakaille said:

I gave it several months and then gave up because I became aggravated every time either a sensation or noise woke me up and that certainly was not helpful for my rest.  This is why I am asking about other alternatives.



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Starsong

@drummerboy, perhaps the "not fitting" is due to the not cleaning of it, the seal? oils and such, as someone mentioned above? I have wipes that I'd use (for my visiting mom's CPAP) they are odorless and easy.  


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drummerboy

hmm. maybe. I'll try it out.

Though part of my slippage problem is that my headgear slides around on my head. I have the same problem wearing elastic headbands when I play racquetball. They eventually just slide off my head.

Starsong said:

@drummerboy, perhaps the "not fitting" is due to the not cleaning of it, the seal? oils and such, as someone mentioned above? I have wipes that I'd use (for my visiting mom's CPAP) they are odorless and easy.  



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John

Headgear loses its elasticity. Needs to be washed and replaced frequently.


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drummerboy

Yeah, but if it was an elasticity problem, then it would get worse as time goes on. It doesn't. I have the same problem with new headgear that I have with old. And I get it replaced twice a year.


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Sir Dave

www.padacheek.com

Goes over the straps. I got it to eliminate the 'lines' on my face. Added benefit was more stable headgear.

Her hose covers are awesome too. oh oh


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joanne

I’m interested to read your comments - it’s shemademedothis’ first night with his first mask!

When he got it, he was given precise instructions on how to clean it each morning, and given swabs etc with which to do so. As an asthmatic and insulin-dependent diabetic, perhaps it’s more important for him to keep this equipment sanitised, but then his mother used to have to sanitise her nebuliser and swab her mouth before and after each use. If she didn’t, she developed nasty yeast infections. He certainly can’t afford the risk of an infection; he was in Emergency two weeks ago for 20-odd hours, and had a middle-of-night asthma attack 3nights ago. 

Reading medical research papers, what you’re breathing out through your nose and mouth, in terms of ‘germs’, is pretty gross (traces of E. coli and other virii  can be traced on breath) travel fairly far on an ordinary breath, and can stick to a surface then hang around for longer than you think. If you ever want to see what’s growing on a ‘clean’ surface, use a blue light on it. And then decide if you should sanitise or not. cheese

(Pic below just taken without bedside light on) 


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elvis

The picture above looks exactly like mine. I started cleaning it but it's a PITA and insurance replaces it often enough. I will admit that I've become semi-dependent on Ambien in order to get over minor claustrophobia.


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joanne

He reports no claustrophobia, not too much discomfort, much better sleep (comfort and duration) and we have no marks. I’m reporting decreased Restless Legs and almost no tossing and turning; the bedclothes actually remained on the bed all night. Only one loo visit all night (that’s a great result). He thinks he just has to get used to it. He was having an asthma attack, but that was milder and more easily controlled. 

He’s just remembered he’s got to wipe over ‘the nose parts’. 


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drummerboy

but this stuff is in your body already. who cares if you transfer it to the cpap? Also, I do think that 8 hours of air passing through the tubing has got to inhibit growth as there is no moist medium. (humidifiers not withstanding).


joanne said:

...

Reading medical research papers, what you’re breathing out through your nose and mouth, in terms of ‘germs’, is pretty gross (traces of E. coli and other virii  can be traced on breath) travel fairly far on an ordinary breath, and can stick to a surface then hang around for longer than you think. If you ever want to see what’s growing on a ‘clean’ surface, use a blue light on it. And then decide if you should sanitise or not. cheese

(Pic below just taken without bedside light on) 



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