What’s lurking inside your CPAP?
Aside from changing the filters, there’s little you can do to keep the inside of your CPAP machine clean and hygienic. Over time, they begin to accumulate dust and others small particles, which is turn become a breeding ground for bacteria. As the pictures on this page show, the inside of a CPAP machine can become very dirty. It is inevitable as a result of what they do – they suck in air, and therefore also anything that is lingering in the air will come with it. While a filter will keep out the majority, it cannot keep out 100% of particles.
The easiest comparison to make would be to a computer. If you open it up for the first time in a while, you’ll find many of the components will be covered in dust sucked in my the fans. A CPAP machine is no different and similarly have a circuit board inside, which is a magnet for dust. In this dust bacteria can lurk and breed. Consequently, some will then find their way into your airflow, the tubing, the mask, and your lungs.
Simple steps towards solving the problem
If the introduction to this post sounds alarmist, that’s because it is. We want all CPAP users to be aware that dust and bacteria will build up inside their machines over time and therefore be vigilant about preventing it and dealing with it regularly. The first step is obvious, but often overlooked: clean and change the filters.
Almost all manufacturers recommend cleaning and changing your filters regularly. As an example, Respironics recommend cleaning the coarse filter every two weeks, and replacing it with a new one every six months. It is very important to do so, as dirty or worn filters will not be effective at blocking particles and bacteria from entering the system.
CPAP Guardian – sterilize your CPAP machine safely and effectively
The second step to take is to sterilize your CPAP machine. Because you are not allowed to open it up to clean is properly, the next best step is simply to sterilize it. Most CPAP users will regularly clean their mask and hosing, which is highly recommended, but this job is then undermined by blowing dirty air from the machine straight back into them.
CPAP Guardian bags provides back with a built-in Ozone Sterilizer. You simply put your machine in the bag, and the CPAP Guardian fills it with Ozone – a gas which kills all living organisms. However, after about 30 minutes the Ozone particles disintegrate into regular oxygen, leaving no harmful gasses or residues, but one completely sterile CPAP machine. You can use it to disinfect your entire system in one go, including your mask and tubing.
Keep your CPAP machine off the floor
Many people choose to keep their CPAP on the floor; either to reduce noise, reduce condensation in the mask or there’s simply not enough room on a bedside cabinet. However, if you CPAP is on the floor it is inevitably going to suck in more dust and dirt; whether your floor is wood, laminate or carpet it will harbour more dust and bacteria than a table. If you CPAP machine has to be low, see if you can find a stand to raise it a few inches off of the floor. After all, the first CPAP prototype was made with a vacuum cleaner motor, so they have some serious suction and will pull in any microbes in the surrounding area.
Keep your machine clean, keep yourself healthy
Keeping your CPAP as clean as possible is vital for preventing health problems caused by it. Try to keep your CPAP off of the floor to minimise the amount of dust it sucks it, and ensure you clean and replace the filters in your machine as recommended by your manufacturer. By following these two simple steps you will greatly reduce the amount of microbes entering your system in the first time.
However, over time it is inevitable some will accumulate however careful you are. We would therefore recommend getting your machine sterilized to ensure that it is not harbouring any bacteria. The CPAP Guardian bags provide the most effective and safe method of doing so currently, and they have the added bonus of making a great travel bag for your system as well. Overall, do whatever you can to ensure your air supply remains clean and safe, and ensure you stay as healthy as possible in the process.