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Anyone Get Sick From Bad Machine Hygiene?
I am really slack about cleaning my machine, mask and hose...

I do wash out the tank once or twice a week.

I am wondering what the risks are, and what I can catch from my APAP habit?

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Geez..... now I feel really slack.  Unsure

I wash my mask and filters once a month (only because the Dreamstation reminds me) and the hose and tank only get washed every two or three months maybe.

The only thing I had that I consider "CPAP related" was when I caught a cold whilst trialing a nose pillow mask during my initial trial period, the pillows really aggravate my nasal passages horrendously. 

If you don't generally have a good immune system, or if it is temporarily low due to medication then cleaning would be more of a priority.
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I get congested if I wait too long to change the filter. Changing it clears up the congestion.

I've also gotten congestion after pulling a mildewed hose out of storage. (I use a heated hose the cold half of the year, and a standard hose the warm half of the year.) All I have to do is make sure the hose is completely dry before putting it away.
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I'm a retired medical and pharmaceutical microbiologist. Some would expect, given my background that I would have a frequent and disciplined schedule for cleaning and disinfecting my CPAP equipment. But I don't. Based on my experience, I don't believe it's necessary. I wash my mask cushions daily with mild detergent, but that's to remove skin oils which can interfere with sealing. The rest of the mask gets rinsed at best every few weeks and occasionally washed with mild detergent. The hose gets rinsed with hot water every few weeks, if that. The humidifier tank gets refilled with distilled water daily and rinsed out and refilled every week to ten days. I may wash it with mild detergent every month or two. I've never seen any evidence of microbial contamination and I know what to look for. If anything looks dirty, of course, I would wash it but it never does.

I would be careful about storing things for extended periods of time without thoroughly drying them. You could possibly have a mold problem, especially with tubing, since it his hard to dry.

Keep in mind that the air supplied by your machine is the same air everyone in your home breaths 24 hrs a day, with the exception that it is filtered and theirs is not. That is the air that is blown across the water in your humidifier and through the hose to your mask. It is cleaner than the air you breath without CPAP.

Bacteria will grow in distilled water in the reservoir  and in the moist tubing, but the numbers will be low, and those that can grow under those circumstances are not pathogenic except for people with serious immune deficiencies or serious lung problems.

Whatever you do, don't fall for the So-Clean system which supposedly cleans and disinfects your equipment using ozone. At best it accomplishes nothing and may damage some materials in your equipment.
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Doc and RT at hospital deal with people who have gotten sick from their cpap and bipap machines. They recommend cleaning once a week just to make it a habit. Once a month is the maximum. Sure, you might not get sick, but seen on a population level, the numbers go up when people don't clean their equipment. I've gone to every 2-3 weeks to clean everything in the winter, but due to that pink slime, once a week once the windows are open. Not so much laziness as overwhelmed with things to do.
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I agree, if you get slime you should clean more frequently. I've never seen slime on my CPAP equipment but I don't doubt it can happen. I've dealt with it in purified water systems. The organisms that cause it are not considered pathogens but I wouldn't want to inhale them every night in large numbers. 

I would question that many people get sick from there CPAP machines. I suspect the doctor and RT are probably making assumptions in the absence of good evidence. I worked as a microbiologist in hospitals for almost 20 years. Very few hospital personnel including MDs have a good understanding of microbiology. 

If you know of a study correlating contamination of CPAP machines with sickness I would be very interested in seeing it.
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If you're using tap water, pink slime might be bacteria which live on iron dissolved in the water.

Well water in some areas has a constant problem with iron deposits in the bathroom fixtures.
Please organize your SleeyHead screenshots like this.
I'm an epidemiologist, not a medical provider. 
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I almost never wash my heated hose...
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(03-17-2017, 07:31 PM)Beej Wrote: If you're using tap water, pink slime might be bacteria which live on iron dissolved in the water.

Well water in some areas has a constant problem with iron deposits in the bathroom fixtures.

That's correct. Actually, there are lots of nutrients in tap water and well water that will support the growth of bacteria. Iron is just one. But none of what we normally consider pathogenic will grow well, if at all, in such water. There are a number that will will also grow in distilled water and cause a slimy film. They require virtually nothing in the way of nutrients.

I use distilled water primarily to avoid mineral and iron sediment in my reservoir.
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Thanks for the perspective Melman and to everyone for their input.  I'm just starting my journey so it is good to know these things.
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