FAQs: Your CPAP Therapy and COVID-19

Friday, April 17, 2020

Wondering what the coronavirus (COVID-19) means for your and your CPAP therapy? We’ve put together this COVID-19 FAQs for sleep apnea patients.

Careica Health encourages you to follow the advice put out by the Government of Canada regarding COVID-19. The information below is for educational use only. Careica Health is unable to provide specific medical advice regarding COVID-19.

Do I have a higher risk of getting COVID-19 because I have sleep apnea?

There is no evidence linking sleep apnea with COVID-19 risk. People who are at a higher risk for COVID-19 include:

  • People with medical conditions including:
    • Heart disease
    • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
    • Lung disease
    • Diabetes
    • Cancer
  • People with weakened immune systems from a medical condition or treatment, such as chemotherapy
  • Older adults

Source: Government of Canada - People who are at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19

If I have symptoms of COVID-19, should I continue using my CPAP?

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should follow the guidance of the Government of Canada and check with your physician before stopping any medical treatment, including CPAP. If possible, you should sleep in a separate room from others. You can continue to use CPAP while you sleep alone. Be sure to follow these steps for routine CPAP care:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after handling the CPAP device, mask, tubing and filters.
  • Clean your CPAP equipment according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Change filters and accessories as directed in your CPAP user guide.
  • Avoid letting anyone smoke in your home, especially around the CPAP machine.
  • Keep pets away from your CPAP machine.
  • Use distilled water in your humidifier to keep the tub clean.

After you are free from COVID-19, replace your CPAP filters and disposable accessories.

If I have symptoms of COVID-19, will using CPAP spread the virus to others?

 

Current evidence suggests that COVID-19 spreads from an infected person through:

  • Respiratory droplets generated when you cough or sneeze
  • Close, prolonged personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching something with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands

Source: Government of Canada – How coronavirus spreads

However, there is some concern that using CPAP could spread the virus through the exhalation port, which allows carbon dioxide to escape from your mask. This port also may release smaller virus-containing particles as an “aerosol,” which can remain suspended in the air for a few hours. It is possible that your bedpartner could inhale these virus particles. Therefore, it is important to sleep alone by isolating yourself in a separate bedroom. You can continue to use CPAP while sleeping in this recovery room.

If I have COVID-19, will CPAP cause it to get worse?

It is unclear whether CPAP can worsen COVID-19. If you have symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19, the best practice is to sleep alone by isolating yourself in a separate bedroom. You can continue to use CPAP while sleeping in this isolated room. Talk to your physician if you have any concerns.

If I or someone I live with has COVID-19, how should I clean and disinfect my CPAP mask and hose?

You should clean your CPAP equipment according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This includes daily and weekly cleaning of certain equipment:

Daily Cleaning

  • Clean your mask daily with warm water and soap. Gently rinse with a clean towel and let the mask air-dry.
  • Alternatively, you can use CPAP wipes to clean your mask.
  • Empty any leftover water in your humidifier. Refill the humidifier with clean, distilled water right before bedtime.
  • If you’ve been sick (with COVID-19 or otherwise), it’s smart to wash your mask, tubing, humidifier and filter daily until your cold, flu or virus symptoms are gone.

 Weekly Cleaning

  • Give your mask and tubing a full bath once a week to keep it free of dust, bacteria and germs.
  • Clean your CPAP tubing, nasal mask and headgear in a bathroom sink filled with warm water and a few drops of ammonia-free, mild dish detergent.
  • Clean your filter by removing it and rinsing it in warm tap water.
    • If you have a white filter, do not wash it—these are disposable filters and should be replaced once a month.
  • Clean your humidifier weekly and disinfect it every other week. You can disinfect your humidifier by soaking it in a solution of one-part vinegar to five parts water for 30 minutes, thoroughly rinsing and then placing in your dishwasher’s top rack for washing.

Sources: ResMed - How to clean your CPAP equipment& Philips - Keeping it clean: CPAP hygiene

Careica Health carries a variety of CPAP cleaning tools including CPAP wipes, soaps, brushes and more. To order CPAP cleaning supplies, contact us at 1-888-297-7889 or shop online at carecloud.careicahealth.com and enjoy FREE shipping on all orders!

Distilled water is unavailable in my area. What should I use in my CPAP humidifier?

CPAP manufacturers recommend distilled water for optimal humidifier performance. This is because most or all of its minerals have been removed, preventing mineral buildup in the humidifier tub. However, tap or bottled water may also be used. It will not harm the device or pose a risk to you. It will, however, require more rigorous humidifier cleaning to prevent excess mineral buildup in the tub.

How can I order CPAP supplies during COVID-19?

We are committed to serving you throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We have two convenient options for ordering your CPAP supplies:

Order Online
Order your supplies though our online store and enjoy FREE shipping on all orders! Visit carecloud.careicahealth.com to get started.

Curbside Pick-up
We are offering curbside pickup on any phone orders. To place an order for curbside pickup:

  1. Call us at 1-888-297-7889 to place your order.
  2. Drive to your nearest Careica Health location.
  3. Call us when you arrive and pop your trunk. A member from our team will bring out your order.

How can I access testing and treatment for sleep apnea during COVID-19?

Through our Careica Virtual service, we offer testing and treatment for sleep apnea that can be done entirely from home. If you need a sleep test to test for sleep apnea, we will mail it to you. If you need to meet with us to discuss your CPAP treatment, we will meet with you via video calling. Visit CareicaHealth.com/virtual or call us at 1-888-297-7889 to learn more.

I prefer to meet face to face. Can I switch back after Covid-19?

Absolutely! We hope you find Careica Virtual as convenient as we do, but we understand that it isn’t for everyone. When we resume regular business operations after COVID-19, we will gladly move you back to in-person appointments if you prefer. You can even switch back and forth from appointment to appointment—the choice is yours!

I have a question that isn’t listed here, how can I get in touch with Careica Health?

We understand that this is a confusing time and that you might have additional questions about COVID-19 and your CPAP therapy. We would be happy to answer them to the best of our ability, however we are unable to provide specific medical advice regarding COVID-19. We encourage you to consult your physician.

If you need to get in touch with us, we can be reached at:

Phone: 1-888-297-7889
Email: info@careicahealth.com
Live chat: Available on CareicaHealth.com

 Additional Source: American Academy of Sleep Medicine - Coronavirus FAQs: CPAP tips for sleep apnea patients

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