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Questions: CPAP related infections?
#1
Question 
Okay, I am not happy about talking about this but I am curious about what's going on and also wondering if this happened to anyone else on this board. 

For the last three months, I have had a sinus infection. I have been on a course of antibiotics three times and none of them seem to be helping me. I am a cpap user, been so for the last four years. I get headaches on and off, ear pressure/pain, congestion in my nose. I have taken antibiotics, I am also on two different allergy sprays, I am also doing my sinus rinse two times a day (with the allergy shots). 

I wash my hose, mask, etc. twice a week and let them air dry.I also change my filters once a week. 

The regular doc seems concerned about what is going on. I am just finishing up my third round of antibiotics and I don't feel much relief. The sprays and the rinse help with the headaches a little bit, but not for too long. He wants to send me to a ENT to see what is going on and I plan on going to see the ENT. 

I am wondering if this has ever happened to others on here before and what happened in the end for you? I am imagine that there is a solution somewhere but If I had some idea on what's going on, I could perhaps let the ENT know about this and we can go from there. 

I am sorry if this post sounds silly but I am in a brain fog and dealing with headaches while I am writing this.
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#2
My feeling is that you should have been referred to an ENT after the 2nd round of drugs didn't work.  Chances are now, you got rid of the original infection, but the antibiotics made the way clear for a fungal infection, which will now need steroids.  I don't know that cpap can cause a sinus problem - I know once you have one, too much humidity can make it worse and/or more painful as I personally discovered.
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#3
Thank you for your reply. I will call the doctor in the morning and see if I can get this checked out again, then mention what you mentioned to me. I am not sure if this is the problem but hopefully what ever problem it is, hopefully I can get prescribed the right meds to combat the problem and end up feeling better again.
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#4
Goldie, I don't know the answer. What I do know is that I'm struggling with sinus congestion/cold symptoms since the end of December and I too was wondering if the CPAP has anything to do with it not going away. I've had such a bad cold that eventually lead to tonsillitis and a round of antibiotics, but I feel not a whole lot better. Congested every night and sneezing all day long. Still have to gargle with saltwater, as I can feel the tonsils swell up again (hard to swallow) when I stop. I have a pretty good hygiene routine for the CPAP, so really, I don't know what's going on, the doctor said a few weeks ago that I have a virus and to continue gargling with saltwater. This is my first winter on CPAP and I can't remember any other time a cold would linger on for so long.
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#5
As a microbiologist with 20 years experience in medical microbiology/infection control and 20 years experience in the sterile pharmaceutical production I strongly doubt you could get an infection from a CPAP.  In general bacteria and fungi need moisture and a source of nutrients. There are bacteria that will grow in distilled water and on moist surfaces with no other nutrients but they are not pathogenic except to immune-suppressed people. The materials in hoses and masks contain no nutrients.  Also you need to inhale them in fairly large numbers. The most likely source of nutrients is saliva and other fluids from your mouth and nose but they are confined to the mask and distal end of the hose because of the air flow and are easily controlled by regular washing with mild detergent.  

I assume you wash your hose, mask, etc. with a mild detergent. The washing and drying will not remove all bacteria and fungi but will reduce the numbers to a level that is not a risk, even if there are pathogens present, which is unlikely. I  assume your drying removes residual water. I connect my hose to my CPAP and run it for a couple of hours to dry the hose. Effective drying will also reduce the numbers of bacteria. Desiccation kills most of them, especially pathogens.

The filters do not protect you from infection. The air you breathe when not using the CPAP contains the same bacteria and fungi. The filters are to protect the machine from contamination with dust, etc which could damage it. They do protect you from the standpoint that to much dust from room air in the machine could provide nutrients for the growth of microorganisms from the room environment but it is very unlikely they would be pathogenic. 

I am comfortable with washing my hose, mask, and humidifier once a week. I wash my cushions daily primarily to remove residual oils from my skin which interfere with sealing. I change my filter every couple of months or if it looks dirty. Filters actually become more effective at removing airborne particulates as they get dirty. The problem with a dirty filter is that it may reduce air flow to the point that the machine may be damaged, probably from overheating, because it needs to work harder to move the required amount of air.

It's unfortunate that you have a sinus infection. I know they can be miserable. It may be the antibiotics have not helped because it's caused by a virus. Mosquitobait is correct in saying that the antibiotic treatments may have set you up for a fungal infection by eliminating the harmless bacteria which are normally present. Steroids, however, although they may be an effective part of treatment, do not kill fungi. If you have a fungal infection (and that's a big if) you need treatments with an antifungal agent. I don't think, however, you need to be concerned about you CPAP as the source, especially given the maintenance schedule you follow.
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#6
(02-16-2017, 11:11 PM)Melman Wrote:  ........
I am comfortable with washing my hose, mask, and humidifier once a week. I wash my cushions daily primarily to remove residual oils from my skin which interfere with sealing.
.......

I am curious how you became sure that residual oils from your skin interfere with sealing. Would you please explain. Thanks

Best Regards,

PaytonA
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#7
Goldie, I wanted to add one final thing - there is a particularly nasty cold going around this year. MANY people get better for a week or two and then get a residual infection which can include a sinus infection. This could be related to your issue. Also, if you are diabetic, watch your blood sugar if you go on a steroid. It can really play havoc - you might even benefit from being on insulin during that time even if you don't normally take it.
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#8
Experience. The silicone seal feels a little tacky when clean and is less likely to slide. After I remove the mask in the morning I find it to be slippery. If I don't wash the cushions each day I have more leak problems. I also find it helps to wash my face well just before going to bed. I'm sure this may vary with individuals depending on how oily there skin gets especially around the nose and eyes.
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#9
Thanks for all of the suggestions. I will be calling the doctor in a half hour and explaining what is going on. He did mention that he wants me to see a ENT and I am hoping that I can get in soon, that way I can figure out what is going on. So sick of this!
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#10
(02-16-2017, 11:46 PM)Melman Wrote: Experience. The silicone seal feels a little tacky when clean and is less likely to slide. After I remove the mask in the morning I find it to be slippery. If I don't wash the cushions each day I have more leak problems. I also find it helps to wash my face well just before going to bed. I'm sure this may vary with individuals depending on how oily there skin gets especially around the nose and eyes.

Thanks for the explanation. Sounds like you have it well doped out. We have at least one member who has reported skin so oily that he must get up in the middle of the night to rewash his face and cushion. I, on the other hand, no longer wash my cushions. I clean them only with baby wipes. I also do not wash my face just before retiring. I think my skin has gotten dry as I have "matured" Smile .

Best Regards,

PaytonA
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