Should I Use My CPAP Machine When I Have A Cold?

septembre 17, 2020

Should I Use My CPAP Machine When I Have A Cold?

Many Sleep Apnea patients have asked this question before: What happens to my therapy if I become ill? More than likely, during CPAP therapy you will end up falling victim to a cold or flu virus at some point. This is inevitable. 

Trying to sleep well with Sleep Apnea is one thing but add a head cold on top and may it seem like quality sleep is out of reach. This doesn’t have to be the case. And you don’t have to double your cold medicine either. In this post, we are going to give you the tips you need to continue CPAP therapy even when you’re feeling under the weather. 


I Have A Cold. Does This Mean I Can’t Use My PAP Machine?

Should having a cold stop you from using your CPAP machine? Not at all. While you may find that you’re breathing a little differently because of a stuffy nose, by stopping Sleep Apnea therapy at the same time you are doing yourself a disservice.

Just think about it. 

Cold viruses are famously known for zapping your energy as they attack your immune system. As you’ll also be aware, Sleep Apnea when left untreated does the same thing. If you choose to stop using your CPAP machine when you are sick, then you can expect your level of fatigue to skyrocket. And the lower your energy levels are, the harder it will be to fully recover. 


Continuing CPAP Therapy When Sick: How To Do It Right

Now that we’ve determined that continuing CPAP therapy is the right course of action to take when feeling sick, let’s look at how to do it effectively. 

To feel as comfortable as possible and get the best night of sleep that you can when using a CPAP machine with a cold, try the following tips and tricks. 

  • Sleep on your side - It is always a bad idea to sleep on your back if you’re dealing with congestion. This will make it harder for you to get a decent breath while sleeping. Try either changing your sleep position to help the airway open naturally. Or, if you are a true lover of sleeping on your back, elevate your head with extra pillows to help drain some of the mucus from your airway passages. 
  • Use a decongestant - Perhaps a decongestant nasal spray is your go-to way of relieving a stuffy nose during a cold already. But if it isn’t, using a decongestant or a saline nasal rinse each night before using your CPAP machine can help to keep your nasal passages clear. 
  • Use a heated humidifier - While it is quite likely that your CPAP machine already has an in-built heated humidifier and if it doesn’t, then you should consider investing in one. Using a heated humidifier while you have a cold is an ideal way to prevent the nasal passages from drying out. This will relieve any discomfort that you have and will help you continue CPAP therapy. 
  • Consider using a full face mask - If you have the option, it may be a good idea to swap out a nasal mask for a full face mask. If you are someone who suffers from severe congestion regularly, a full face style mask is a much better choice for you. This is because it allows you to breathe during your mouth while you sleep. And as we all know, head colds often make it impossible to breathe through our nose. 

  • Whether you use one or all of the tips above, we are sure that you’ll be able to continue your CPAP therapy even when you are feeling under the weather. Keep in mind that if you do choose to use a full face mask when sick, speak with a sleep specialist first before you make any purchasing decisions. 


    Are You Cleaning Your CPAP Equipment? Why You Should Be

    While we can’t always help it if we get sick, we can do our best to clean our CPAP equipment to prevent recurring illnesses. 

    When we are under the weather, germs and bacteria build up in our CPAP mask. As we are reliant on this piece of equipment to receive PAP therapy, we must be keeping a rigorous cleaning schedule especially when we are on the mend. 

    If you do have a cold, aim to clean your mask at least once daily using CPAP cleansing wipes. These wipes will gently cleanse and maintain your CPAP mask by deodorizing, and removing facial oils and residue. However, in order to truly sanitize your mask and remove any germs left in your CPAP mask, you will also need to use a CPAP cleaner such as the SoClean 2 CPAP Equipment Cleaner for the duration of your illness and on a regular schedule afterwards. 

    The trick to not having to continuously manage CPAP therapy and a head cold at the same time is taking proactive steps to stay healthy. And if you do happen to get a cold or two during the winter months, just follow the tips we outlined above and you’ll get a better night of rest in no time.

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    Sizing Guide For Select CPAP Masks

    Select CPAP Masks have sizing guide to help you select a size. 

    Click on the mask name below to view, print and measure with their size guide.

    Other masks are packaged as fitpacks with all size cushions included and do not have size guides available. 

    Nasal Masks

    Full Face Masks

    Other helpful resources:

    How To Select A CPAP Mask – Help Centre - All the help you need...instantly! (

    What Size CPAP Mask Do I Buy? – Help Centre - All the help you need...instantly! (