CPAP Care During COVID-19 Pandemic: Cleaning Your Devices
There were well over 100,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 outside of China as of March 30th, 2020, and even more as of Jan 2021. As infection rates grow, the global community is beginning to understand the seriousness of the situation.
This makes it important for you to take measures that keep you safe. As you are probably aware, the virus poses a higher risk to people with pre-existing conditions, especially those over the age of 65.
Though it’s not certain as to whether sleep apnea (obstructive or central) increases the risks associated with COVID-19, it’s still important to take the proper precautions and take care of yourself (both physically and emotionally).
How Often You Should Clean Your CPAP Equipment
- CPAP Mask: Daily
- CPAP Mask Cushion or Pillows: Daily
- Humidifier Chamber: Empty and dry daily; clean once a week
- CPAP Reusable Filters: Clean once a week
Not sure how often you should switch up your supplies? Take our quiz to find out if it’s time to replace your CPAP equipment.
Why Good CPAP Care is Important During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Ironically, it is often the body's reaction to a disease rather than the disease itself that causes the most severe symptoms. Many of the people who have suffered the most from Coronavirus (COVID-19) have developed a condition called acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
This severe illness develops as a result of an existing problem — such as COVID-19 — so those who are affected are usually already in the hospital.
The bad news is that ARDS is very severe.
Aside from the necessary steps like hand washing and remaining indoors, the best thing a CPAP user can do to avoid a serious situation is to stay active (while practicing social distancing), take immune system boosters, follow the medical advice given by your primary care doctor, and use your continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP machine daily. You don't want to let COVID-19 catch you with your immune system down.
Cleaning Your Device: How Often is Often Enough for Good CPAP Care?
Because of the humid nature of the CPAP device, it gets dirty often. In fact, if you do not buy a good CPAP cleaning system or clean your CPAP weekly, the machine and face mask are likely to develop mold buildup. Today, it is more important than ever to avoid contaminants in your respiratory system, especially those that may lead to medical conditions.
Like many others, John Heralds, from Florida, would not be able to rest easy without the use of a CPAP machine. His sleep medicine doctor recommended that he wash the mask, hose, and humidification tank about once a week on the inside and about once every two weeks on the outside.
The problem for some is that older humidification or water chambers don't open easily. Plus, for those with mobility issues like arthritis, juggling a CPAP hose in your bathtub with soapy water twice a week can be a tedious and time-consuming chore. If you don't want to clean your CPAP by hand multiple times a week, how can you keep your CPAP machine clean?
Many users choose to clean their CPAP automatically with products that pump O3 (Ozone) to kill bacteria and mold. These systems basically function as disinfectant boxes for the equipment you want to be sterilized which is very helpful since there can be aerosolization or particles of the virus in the air. Think of the sterilization room in space movies where they blast astronauts in suits with jets of vapor before they can safely come back into contact with others.
These are called CPAP cleaning systems.
What Kind of CPAP Cleaning System is Best for Me?
Many CPAP users prioritize mobility and cost. CPAP machines typically cost around $440 and up. The cleaning systems will run you between $150 and $350. Some are more portable than others. If this is a concern for you, we recommend going with a battery-powered CPAP cleaning system.
At Sleeplay, we’ve partnered with Afterpay so that you can order the supplies you need right away and pay later in interest-free installments.
Even if your travel plans are limited to excursing from your home to a family member's home, any overnight stay is obviously that much more complicated when you are forced to carry bulky equipment.
Backpacks for CPAP medical equipment are also widely sold and can easily fit certain cleaning systems well.
Virtuclean — portability
Photo Credit: VirtuClean 2.0
This system is small and lightweight. It is considered one of the most portable options on the market. Good CPAP care can be a strain on your checked luggage at the airport!
The Virtuclean takes about 30 minutes to sanitize your CPAP. This CPAP cleaning system uses Ozone to eliminate mold and bacteria. Online reviews say the Virtuclean is a good portable choice that can clean most CPAP kits.
The VirtuClean is small, lightweight, and comes with an 18-month warranty.
Sleep8 — reliability
Photo Credit: Sleep8 Cleaning System
This system is reliable and universal. It is larger than the portable options, but smaller than the home option, fitting in right between the two uses. It can be considered either portable or home-use. It is also a silent device.
This CPAP cleaning system uses Ozone to eliminate mold and bacteria.
The Sleep8 is also small and light. It weighs slightly more than the Virtuclean, but still less than a third as much as the non-portable CPAP cleaning systems, 0.58 lbs. The final advantage this high-quality cleaning system claims is that it is universal, meaning it is compatible with all CPAP machines.
It is more important now than ever to practice good CPAP care. We are dealing with something new, and until we figure out how to best defeat it, the best thing you can do is incorporate practices recommended by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and your healthcare providers like washing your hands, social distancing, disinfecting your home, and maintaining your CPAP therapy schedule.
We hope that you are staying safe and well through this uncertain time, and we’ll get through this together! To find the right cleaning system for you, explore our curated selection of CPAP cleaning supplies today.
Written by The Sleeplay Team