With more than three months since its outbreak and still no sight of a vaccine, the COVID-19 pandemic is causing anxiety and stress to everyone. People with pre-existing conditions are also affected as the lockdown and surge in patients shifted the focus to those with emergency needs.
Among the people who needed to adapt are those with sleep apnea, a dangerous condition when breathing stops and starts during sleep. Its symptoms include snoring, choking, gasping, sleeping persistently during the day, waking up on the morning with dry mouth or headache. To manage their condition, patients with obstructive sleep apnea use Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines at night.
However, Dr. Meir Kryger of Yale University said that the use of CPAP can be dangerous as the airflow in its circuits is not designed to filter the air exhaled. The intentional leak that the machine transmits can contaminate the entire room if the patient is infected.
So if you have sleep apnea, what do you need to do during this crisis?
We all know that the virus spreads when people are within 6 feet from each other as it is transmitted through respiratory droplets in the air and surfaces. It is therefore important to maintain social distancing at all times. Even if you don’t exhibit the symptoms such as fever, dry cough, or tiredness, you should self-isolate by sleeping alone and using CPAP in a different room at night during this pandemic.
Consult your physician
Although cases are prioritized this time, you should consult your sleep physician for alternative treatment plans to possibly avoid using CPAP since it can increase the aerosolization of COVID-19. You can opt for scheduling a teleconsultation by phone or video platforms regarding your sleep disorder and other preventive measures that must be taken to adjust well.
Clean the machine
Regularly clean your CPAP equipment by changing its filters and accessories based on the manufacturer’s guide. Use humidifiers to keep the tub clean and avoid letting anyone smoke in your home.
Take special care
Maintain hygiene by avoiding to touch MEN (mouth, ears, nose) and washing your hands with soap and water before handling the device and every time you return and leave the bedroom. Keep the room’s surface ventilated by regularly opening the windows and cleaning the room.
It is important to follow all these steps as we try to stay at home and stay healthy during this time of crisis.