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Achoo! Welcome to Spring!

23 March 2023 Categories: Better Sleep Tips Author: Katrina Stubbs
caution allergy season ahead
Caution: Allergy season is here!

Springtime is upon us. Fresh leaves, blossoming flowers and the time many of us refer to as “allergy season.” Spring allergens, like tree, grass and weed pollens, can trigger allergic reactions such as sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, itchy or watery eyes, coughing, and swollen mucous membranes. These can cause sleep disturbances and difficulties falling or staying asleep.

While allergies are not a direct cause of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), the coexistence of sleep apnea and allergic rhinitis can be quite common. Both conditions have similar symptoms including daytime sleepiness, headache, snoring throughout the night, and feelings of gasping or choking. When suffering from allergies, it can hinder nasal breathing which is our body’s natural filtration system. Mucous congestion is pulled deeper into your airway at the back of your throat making your upper airway narrower than normal.

For those who already experience obstructive sleep apnea, allergies can increase the frequency and duration of apneic episodes while sleeping. Seasonal allergies can also make treating your OSA with CPAP therapy more challenging. If you are unable to breathe through your nose, the full benefit of CPAP therapy is not achieved, especially if the mask you’re using does not cover your whole face.

Despite the fact that CPAP and allergies do not go together well, it is unwise for sleep apnea sufferers to stop the use of their CPAP machines during this time. You will still have a much more refreshed sleep than your peers who don’t have a CPAP machine to help keep their airways open. During allergy season your nose is working hard to maintain its moisture despite being dry and congested. The humidification from your CPAP machine takes that burden off your nose to lower congestion and inflammation caused by allergens. Your nose can now be more efficient at clearing the allergens out.

Top CPAP tips for dealing with allergies:

Replace your filters: Keeping your CPAP clean with fresh filters can keep seasonal allergies from worsening during sleep.

Regular cleaning: Cleaning devices such as the Lumin CPAP Sanitizer has specialized UV technology proven to kill harmful viruses, bacteria, mold and fungus that can contribute to allergic reactions.

Try a full face mask: For those who suffer from ongoing congestion, trying a full face mask that covers both the mouth and the nose can aid in ensuring the air is getting through either way during sleep.

Speak to your local Snore MD sleep clinician to learn more about how to protect yourself from worsening allergy symptoms and how CPAP use can help us get through the spring and move ahead to the beautiful summer months.

Katrina Stubbs Sleep Clinician
Katrina Stubbs

Katrina Stubbs is a Regional Manager and Sleep Clinician at Snore MD and brings over 15 years of experience in the medical field. She prides herself in providing exceptional patient care and education, not only to her patients but to the entire team at Snore MD.

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