Most people don't realize, that after a few months of usage, CPAP masks and tubing become covered in a bacteria growth from the warm air that you breath nightly. This can affect you lung health and increase the risk of pnuemonia and lung infections.
A 2009 study at Harvard University, by Dr. Alex Horowitz, Dr. Sandra Horowitz and Dr. Chinhak Chun showed that over time, CPAP masks, even when cleaned and taken care of regularly, contain high amounts of bacteria colonies and fungus.
The study looked at CPAP masks, hoses and humidifiers of 24 people – 16 men and 8 women – and concluded that 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.
Because of this, experts recommend replacing the mask and hose at least once every six months to guard against bacteria build up.
Because hand washing is widely regarded as the best way to fight bacteria and germs by medical professionals, washing your CPAP mask and equipment is recommended as the best way control bacteria in your CPAP mask and equipment. As well, remember to replace your CPAP mask every 3-to-6 months.
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!