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Using the CPAP When I Have a Cold

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Using the CPAP When I Have a Cold

Postby tazbird3 » Wed Sep 22, 2010 12:07 am

Hi there. I have been using my CPAP machine every night for the past five weeks or so and am doing really well with it. But over the past couple days, I have developed a cold with all of the coughing, sniffling, sneezing, post nasal dripping, etc. My nose doesn't remain unblocked for any real length of time and because of the nasal mask I use, I have that whole suction type issue when I have to open my mouth to cough! I'm afraid of using the machine while I have this cold - can the CPAP "force" more germs into my lungs? And - I feel silly mentioning this - but if my nose blocks up while I'm sleeping, will I wake up gasping with the mask on? Or would the machine actually help me? I haven't been able to sleep well for the past two nights because of the cold and the mask and the suction issue when I have to cough or clear my throat. Anyone have suggestions or comments?
Fisher and Paykel SleepStyle 234 CPAP Machine with Built In Heated Humidifier; pressure set at 10; ResMed Mirage Activa LT nasal mask.
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Postby CraigB » Wed Sep 22, 2010 8:01 am

I've read a lot of conflicting information about this issue. For me, I've found that it actually dries out my runny nose and makes me feel better. Now, I'm using a nasal pillow so I can't comment on the mask.

Just FYI, the arguments against say that you will blow a lot of germs back and into your sinuses and ear canal. Some say it's no concern and using the CPAP will help shorten the duration of the cold. Some say that you're fine, just stop using it if you notice signs of sinus or ear infection developing and some say it's bad, don't do it!

My advice is, as always, if you are unsure, talk to your Doc or sleep specialist about it.
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Postby jessy 49 » Wed Sep 22, 2010 1:58 pm

I've had a couple of colds and a bout of pneumonia in the two years since I started cpap. Use a sinus irrigation rinse and take your favorite decongestant before bed. I've never had much of a problem with the cpap blowing germs anywhere where they shouldn't be and aren't already ! Typically, the pattern is the same as a cold without cpap. You feel really crummy for a couple of days, not great for about 5 days and fully recovered in 10 days.

Once you feel better, give all the equipment a really good washing.
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Postby vivey » Wed Sep 22, 2010 2:06 pm

If you're already exhibiting cold symptoms, you body is already saturated with the cold bug, so I don't see how your cpap could make things worse in that respect.

I've found that when I have a cold, my xpap, along with using the humidifier, actually helps my sinuses. I use a sinus rinse first to get some of the gunk out of the way. After a few minutes with my mask on, I notice a little clearing continues to improve slowly. Does it complete clear my nose, probably not, but I usually have some stuffiness even without a cold.
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ResMed S8 AutoSet II APAP w/3i humidifier. Range is 8-15. Mask is Swift FX w/med pillows.
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Thanks...

Postby tazbird3 » Mon Sep 27, 2010 3:34 pm

Hi there. I just wanted to thank you for your responses. You folks are wonderful, you know that? The combined wisdom and experience of all those on this site is really something!

I just wanted to follow up and let you know what I ended up doing. First of all, the one respiratory therapist who I called expressed concern that the CPAP might encourage the mucous to settle deeper into my chest if I used it while I had this virus, given the amount and thickness of all of my throat gunk. However, she said that my own respiratory therapist would call me back - which he never did. So I found myself in quandry. I read the posts listed here but then I decided to simply make a decision. Here is what I did:

As long as I had such great volume of mucous and nasal discharge, and because of the amount of coughing I was doing, and because my nose was SO blocked (nasal decongestant every three to four hours - yes, I know, way too much), I opted to not use my CPAP but rather sleep sitting up in my comfy chair in the living room. Since I don't snore when I fall asleep in this chair, I figured I would be safe sleeping there all night without the CPAP going. I did this for three nights. Finally, this past Saturday night, I felt that I was well enough to go back to my bed and use the CPAP. It felt so good to crawl under the covers and put the mask on!!! And I slept for a solid eleven hours!! Life is sooooo good!

Anyway, just wanted to say thanks ~ and to let you know the outcome.
Fisher and Paykel SleepStyle 234 CPAP Machine with Built In Heated Humidifier; pressure set at 10; ResMed Mirage Activa LT nasal mask.
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