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Good morning. I have been a cpap user for 6 years. I had endoscopic sinus surgery in 2005. All sinus were cleared. I then began having Bacterial infections. I try to do the best job possible on cleaning and replacing filters but began having bacterial infection. After having 8 or 9 re-occurencies my Doctor did a nan o scan and found that my sinus had a bacterial infection plus they were also loaded with fungus and we did endoscopic surgery again on January 14, 2009 to remove fungus and clear scar tissue. . I am now waiting for another appointment to get his findings. My question is, can you get bacterial infections and fungus in the sinus from use of cpap and humidifier or maybe some one who has experience with these conditions could advise me. Cpap people state that if you cleanse and use filters as directed by them that you shouldn't. I do salt water rinses when I get through with outside jobs and at night before I go to bed. '
I know that this forum has probably the most cpap educated information on living with cpap. I hope that their is an answer to this problem. I would appreciate your thoughts and comments because these last few years have been rather hectic. Thjanks. Little John
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I have had cronic sinus problems since I was a kid, and have had sinus surgery twice, three times if you count my tonsils. I would get sinus infections 2 or 3 times a year, and after the surgery it was once a year. I started on cpap in november, and it has been great for my nose. Breathing filtered, heated, humidified air all night is keeping my sinuses clear all winter.
If the cpap, mask, filters, tube, or air the machine is drawing in are dirty, that could be the cause of your problems (cpap machine off the carpet and away from dusty areas). You might want to have a mold inspection done of your house, and perhaps a HEPA air cleaner - the cpap filters work to an extent, but they are definitely not HEPA quality.
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I am new to CPAP and have no experience of surgery; I'm sure others with more knowledge will contribute but I have a couple of points for you. My understanding of recurrent bacterial and fungal infections elsewhere in the body is that an optimally healthy immune system (including the skin and mucous membranes) is able to protect itself from pathogens with a variety of strategies. You have no doubt heard that bacteria live on our skin and in our gut all the time. I don't know if the sinus cavities are expected to be sterile all the time like, say, the peritoneal cavity is. It may be that after many infections, the mucous membranes are thinner than they should be, and are not as efficient a barrier as they should be. Unfortunately it's not as simple as removing the pathogens and preventing the inhalation of new ones. You need physiology that functions well. An example of this is acidophilus in the gut - the right number of 'good' bacteria acts to balance against the 'bad' bacteria. When we take certain broad spectrum antibiotics, we can wipe out both the bad and the good bacteria, so that when the populations recover, there are too many bad bacteria. So, we often have to take acidophilus capsules or yoghurt to restore the numbers of good bacteria in the gut.
To my mind, you are doing everything right already, in terms of changing filters and so on. But you may want to ask your doctor for any advice he can give on strengthening your immunity. Seeing an immunologist may help, as many doctors have not had much training in this. I think that many doctors would just say have a healthy balanced diet, minimise stress, get exercise and get good sleep. Well, you are already doing all that I imagine. Carefully selected mineral and vitamin supplementation may help - most doctors would probably be dubious about this point, but given your history, an immunologist may prescribe specific things to assist you. If you have deficiencies in key minerals or vitamins (can be found in blood tests) then it makes sense to reduce eash of those risks.
The biggest positive thing you can do for your immune system is to have your sleep apnea under control and you are doing that. You may need another sleep study if has been a while since your last, just to ensure there are no other sleep disorders reducing the quality of your sleep, and that your sleep apnea is still well controlled. This is absolutely critical for your immune system.
When you say these last few years have been rather hectic, do you mean that you've had numerous infections, or that you've been working long hours, dealing with major life changes etc? The reason I ask is because the other major immune system support is having a balanced, emotionally fulfilling life where stress is managed in a healthy way. Most of us have some barriers to this, such as heavy work or family responsibilities, anxiety issues, or bereavement. Strange as it may seem, emotional or mental health can be linked to recurrent or chronic infections. We can't change the fact that we will have (for example) beareavements in life, but our bodies sometimes force us to look at things - I know that has happened to me at times.
One last thing. You mention doing rinses when you have finished doing work outside. Is this because of dust, dirt, pollens, that sort of thing? You may also want to wear a protective mask, one that is graded appropriately to stop particles coming in from outside.
"Attitude is a little word that makes a big difference" - Winston S Churchill
Machine: Respironics M Series Pro, 17cm
Mask 1: Respironics Comfortgel nasal
Mask 2: Resmed Quattro full face
37yo female, New Zealand, Mixed SA, AHI 45
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Little John you said ( " I do salt water rinses when I get through with outside jobs and at night before I go to bed. "') When you do these salt water rinses do you use distilled water or boiled water? And are your nasal rinse bottle extremely clean? along with everything else including your hands when you do this? The reason I ask is because when doing the sinus rinse, if you are not using super clean techniques you could very easily be introducing the bacteria and fungi into your sinus by doing the sinus nasal rinse. I know this from experience! Also when you do it, if you are washing away dirt and dust from what ever job your doing, make sure that you are rinsing enough to get your sinus clean, other wise you might be just forcing the stuff further back into your sinus and that might be contributing to your problem. Just as a suggestion you might consider using Alkalol along with your salt water rinse, it is an all natural sinus nasal wash, it is a mucus solvent and cleaner, and it kills germs and bacteria. The stuff really does work I use it 50/50 with saline nasal rinse. Try Google it and go to their web site to check it out. It might be worth trying. But above all make sure everything is super clean when doing the salt water rinse! Good Luck to You
White Beard with a White Beard
Resmed VPAP Adapt SV Enhanced, HumidAire 2i, ResLink with Model 8000 Flex sensor Pulse Oximeter, and ResScan 3.5 software. Respironic EverFlo OPI Oxygen Concentrator 3 lpm
EEP 14.0, min PS 14.0, max PS 24.0, FitLife Mask
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