It’s very common for people to worry about using CPAP when sick. What mask should you use? Humidification or not? Arrrgggghhhh!!!!
Let’s have a small dose of realistic expectations for using CPAP when sick. Let me sum it up with this….you’re sick, so your sleep is going to suck! Consider someone without sleep apnea that doesn’t use CPAP therapy. If they get sick then they can expect that their sleep is going to be horrible. Why should you as a CPAP user get any better sleep when you’re sick just because you have a mask on your face? No….you’ll get nothing and like it! Here is a video that sums this all up for my CPAP using friends that prefer an eight minute video on using CPAP when sick instead of reading about it. Hey, I can’t blame you. It is somewhat more entertaining.
Does this mean that you should just give up on CPAP when you’re sick? I don’t think so. Here are some steps that you can take to at least make a go at it. When you have a cold or flu it’s a good idea to use a full face mask. If your nose is congested it gives you the best chance at sleeping somewhat normally to have the ability to breathe through your mouth. If you feel like a good ol’ fashioned pukefest is on the horizon, you may want to stick with a nasal or nasal pillow mask.
You may find that you need to adjust the humidification level if you are especially congested. Sometimes this can help. Even dropping in a little Vicks or Eucalyptus Oil can help keep your sinuses open. Using a neti pot prior to sleep can help as well.
Sleeping upright or in a recliner can help too. Don’t be afraid to try any or all of the above methods when your are using CPAP when sick. Just don’t be too hard on yourself if your sleep still sucks. Remember….you’re sick!!!! Hope you feel better soon.