Most people don't realize, that after 3-6 months of usage, CPAP masks and tubing become covered in a bacteria film or growth from the heated air that you breath whenever you wear your CPAP. This bacteria can damage your lungs and increase your risk for recurrent lung infections!
A 2009 study at Harvard University, by Dr. Alex Horowitz, showed that after about 5 months, CPAP masks, even when carefully cleaned, contain high amounts of bacteria colonies and fungus.
The study looked at CPAP masks and hoses of 24 people – 16 men and 8 women – and concluded that nearly 48 per cent of the CPAP masks tested contained more than 2000 bacteria colonies after 48 hours.
Swabs were taken from the interface (where the mask seals to your face) of the mask and at the base of the hose and humidifier. These swab samples were then tested for bacteria colony counts 24 and 48 hours later.
What they found was, there is a correlation between older masks and higher amounts of bacteria, no matter how often or well the mask was cleaned. Yuck!!
Because of this, Snore MD sleep clinics recommend replacing the mask and hose at least once every six months to guard against bacteria film and build up.
Speak to your friendly sleep expert at Snore MD to get your mask and tubing checked out for wear and tear!
As well, most insurance companies cover a new CPAP mask every six months, so a brand new shiny mask may cost you little or nothing at all!
About the author:
Michael Davis is Snore MD's Director of Optimal Patient Care and community awareness. Driven by a passion for quality of everyday life, Michael became a Respiratory Therapist in 2009 with the goal of helping Canadians sleep better. With experience in critical care medicine, sleep medicine and pulmonary disorders, Michael leads a team of 15 skilled Sleep Clinicians and Respiratory Therapists to help thousands of British Columbians Sleep Better - Live Better.