Posted on Tuesday, November 1st, 2022 at 8:00 am
The changing of the seasons doesn’t just herald the holiday season. It means cold and flu season is back, bringing congestion, pain, and breathing problems. For people who rely on a CPAP machine, the looming cold and flu season can be even more anxiety-inducing. During this time of year, people wonder if they should even use their CPAP machine when they get sick since congestion can make using a CPAP unsanitary and uncomfortable. Is there a better solution to getting a good night’s rest when you’re ill?
When You’re Sick, Rest Is Best
One of the most crucial things you can do to help your body heal when you are sick is to get plenty of sleep. Sleep is critical for helping the body maintain a strong immune system and fight off infection. Research indicates sleep helps our bodies fight infection by allowing the immune system to produce cytokines. Cytokines are proteins that target infection and inflammation. These proteins are primarily produced while we sleep. A lack of adequate sleep can result in a cytokine deficiency, increasing the risk of illness or preventing an already sick individual from healing quickly.
CPAP machines regulate a person’s breathing while they sleep, preventing interrupted breathing and sleep disruptions. When a person is congested, they are already having trouble breathing. Adding a CPAP mask or cannula to the mix can sometimes make symptoms feel worse. However, discontinuing the use of a CPAP machine without an adequate alternative can lead to the return of sleep apnea symptoms and sleep disruptions. Without proper sleep, it can take longer to heal, resulting in a continuing cycle of illness, infection, and sleeplessness that only gets worse instead of better.
How Cold and Flu Symptoms Make Using a CPAP Difficult
Using a CPAP machine while you are sick can be uncomfortable. It can also potentially make cold and flu symptoms worse. Congestion limits a person’s ability to breathe comfortably through the nose, meaning people resort to breathing through their mouths instead. Using a CPAP machine with a mask and breathing through your mouth may dry out your throat, causing throat pain and irritation. Sneezing and coughing into the mask can also be uncomfortable and make sleeping more challenging or even claustrophobic.
Are There Alternatives?
The key to using your CPAP machine during cold and flu season is keeping it clean. Even when you are feeling your best, cleaning and disinfecting a CPAP can be a time-consuming hassle. Thankfully, there is another solution. You may consider using an oral appliance to treat your sleep apnea instead. An oral appliance helps prevent the tongue from blocking the throat and closing off your airway.
Oral appliances may resemble an athlete’s mouthguard, but these devices have come a long way in recent years. Today, oral appliances are customized to your mouth, making for a more comfortable and specialized sleep apnea treatment option. They are also a great option during cold and flu season when congestion makes using a traditional CPAP difficult.
Get Better Sleep Today. Contact Silent Night Therapy
At Silent Night Therapy, we believe that quality sleep is the hallmark of good health, especially during cold and flu season. If you are interested in learning more about our different oral appliance options and whether one is right for you, call our office at 631-983-2463 for a free consultation appointment.