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[CPAP] Started Using Humidifier On CPAP Machine, Instantly Got Sick
#1
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Started Using Humidifier On CPAP Machine, Instantly Got Sick
So a little over a week ago I called a CPAP tech about some issues I posted on here (dry mouth in morning, API's went up, nasal congestion). He thought maybe the cold air from the AC was making the air too dry and interfering with my breathing a bit. He suggested I start using the humidifier on the lowest setting (1). I have the ResMed AirSense 10.


The first night or two, I felt some relief, and the APIs actually went back down to what they normally were. It seemed to be working out well. Fast forward to about three days ago. I started feeling some chest congestion. Thought nothing of it. Then yesterday, woke up and it was considerably worse, and I even started hacking up some nasty, green mucus, which eventually subsided over the course of the day.

I've already started a dose of antibiotics to rid myself of whatever the heck this is, but I can't help but correlate using the humidifier to suddenly hacking up thick, green mucus. I was told that in the event of a cold, it's actually BETTER to have a humidifier, to "loosen up" the gunk in your chest. Still, I am now afraid to use it. I used it reluctantly last night after cleaning out all the tubing and water tank, and then convinced myself that the tubing needed to be cleaned again today because I am sick, so I did it all over again and now I am leaning more towards not using it at all.

Now, I don't know what to do. I am scared that I may get pneumonia or something else nasty, and I really want to avoid this situation again. What do I do? Do I stop using the humidifier? Do I stay the course? I have had a bit of a history in the past with upper respiratory infections, but have not had any trouble in quite some time until this issue.


Can someone offer some advice?
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#2
RE: Started Using Humidifier On CPAP Machine, Instantly Got Sick
I would use the humidifier if it helps you sleep. I doubt the humidifier caused your problem.
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#3
RE: Started Using Humidifier On CPAP Machine, Instantly Got Sick
It is probably not your CPAP.

It took a week for this to happen.

Make sure you are cleaning it each day. If it is the first time you have ever used it, consider doing a vinegar/water solution to soak the tub in for a bit. Rinse well. Run the solution through the hose, too. I just stick my thumb in each end and swish back and forth for a minute. Let air dry. Change your water every day. Not that it is an imperative do or die thing, but to eliminate variables.
PaulaO

Take a deep breath and count to zen.




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#4
RE: Started Using Humidifier On CPAP Machine, Instantly Got Sick
It is very unlikely that your humidifier caused what is likely a cold. Unless your immune system is permanently compromised I don't see the need to wash everything every day and change the water every day. Speaking for myself (and from what I have heard, most people on this forum as well as other CPAP related forums.) I clean the silicone interface that comes in contact with my nose daily but the mask itself as well as the hose running from the machine only get a soapy water clean every 3 or so weeks. I clean my water tank with soap and water in the morning after 3 uses and allow to air dry during the day.

There are others that clean far, FAR less frequently than I do and they will tell you they have never had issues. It i really up to each person to find out what they feel comfortable with for their cleaning regimen. Most of us started out being much more zealous with the cleaning initially but after a while we realized it really wasn't necessary.

I very rarely get colds anymore whereas before my machine I was getting multiple colds in a year. I can't even remember when I last had a cold or flu come to think of it... If you use your machine regularly and it is set up properly to give you effective therapy, I think you will find your frequency of cold and flu infections greatly reduced.
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#5
RE: Started Using Humidifier On CPAP Machine, Instantly Got Sick
I've read a lot of people saying the same things you guys are which gives me a bit of solace. I am just concerned because I have been hospitalized twice in the last 2 years for some serious upper respiratory crap and was really hoping this year I would avoid it, but apparently it's becoming something I get at least once a year now. I don't smoke or anything like that so I'm unsure where this could have come from. Nobody else around me is sick or even has a cough. I just thought it was pretty strange that within days of using the humidifier I started waking up with mucus. The first night I used the humidifier, it felt like the first night that I used the CPAP. My chest hurt a little bit like it had expanded or something. So there were SOME changes immediately. But I didn't start the mucus thing until about 4-5 days later.
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#6
RE: Started Using Humidifier On CPAP Machine, Instantly Got Sick
i was getting tonsilitis every few weeks after i started on cpap humidifier. It was due to cold air. It stoped after I got the heated hose.
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#7
RE: Started Using Humidifier On CPAP Machine, Instantly Got Sick
You know, it could just be the humidifier softened up the crap and it is draining. Could be a good thing!

I had problems with a dirty hose eons ago and while I don't clean them that often, I do replace them as soon as I can.
PaulaO

Take a deep breath and count to zen.




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#8
RE: Started Using Humidifier On CPAP Machine, Instantly Got Sick
My insurance won't let me replace the hose for another month unless I buy one out of pocket. I've been cleaning it much more often and I'm still having issues. I've been on antibiotics and steroids now for 4 days, yet I keep waking up with congestion. My apneas actually went up again last night and I had a dry feeling in my mouth similar to when I first started getting sick. 

I was told I can't get the heated hose without a prescription and it's way more than what I am willing to pay anyway, so I can't go that route. I've been doing a thorough job about cleaning everything out with antibacterial soap (was originally using dish soap) and cleaning it almost daily at this point. It does get cold in my room at night but I was told adding the humidifier setting would even things out. All it has done has make me feel sick and have chest pains.

The only thing I have done any differently is that I have been using spring water instead of distilled because I have no distilled water. I used tap water once or twice and I'm thinking maybe that is what could have made me sick? I don't know. I just want to stop waking up this way. I haven't coughed up any green stuff since the day after I started taking the antibiotics but I still have this feeling in my throat/chest that won't go away and I'm deathly afraid to let it get to a point where I get very ill.
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#9
RE: Started Using Humidifier On CPAP Machine, Instantly Got Sick
I'm starting to think that the humidifier was never an issue and that it may be more of a mask issue because I had the original problem last night even with the humidifier. Seems like when the leak numbers go up is when I have more apneas.
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#10
RE: Started Using Humidifier On CPAP Machine, Instantly Got Sick
Bacterial pathogens that cause respiratory tract infections will not grow on the surfaces of CPAP equipment or in tap, distilled, or bottled water. The required nutrients are not present. There are bacteria which are usually non-pathogenic that will grow in clean water and on moist surfaces but they are only a threat to those with seriously compromised immunity. Viruses will not grow in CPAP equipment or humidifiers because they only grow in living cells. Also, since the humidification is by evaporation, very few bacteria will be picked up from the humidifier by the air stream. As a microbiologist, I have trouble imagining how CPAP therapy can be a source of infectious organisms unless the equipment becomes extremely dirty and even then the organism would probably not be pathogenic. (The one exception is molds which may grow on any moist surface. Personally I have never seen any on my equipment and most are not pathogens.) 

Personally, I top off my reservoir with distilled water daily and completely drain, rinse, and refill it every 10 to 14 days if that. I only wash it with mild detergent or vinegar if I see any residue which is usually never unless I use tap water which leaves mineral deposits. Some, depending on their environment and water my see a colored slime. It's probably not pathogenic buy I would remove it with a thorough cleaning with mild detergent. I clean my mask cushion daily to remove skin oils and wash the rest of the mask with mild detergent every week or two. I don't recall when I last cleaned a hose.
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