Dr. Raj on Sleep Apnea & Coronavirus

Even on its best days, sleep apnea may be unpleasant. It can seem like a nightmare while the coronavirus pandemic is going on. However, by taking the necessary safety measures, you can use your CPAP machine without having to worry about your or your loved ones’ well-being.

According to Raj Dasgupta, M.D., a board-certified sleep medicine specialist, assistant program director of the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Southern California, and member of the Prevention Medical Review Board, 30 million Americans actually suffer from sleep apnea. Of course, a few of them will develop COVID-19. Want to continue sleeping soundly? Here are some advice from Dr. Raj about managing sleep apnea during the COVID-19 emergency.

Understand that sleep apnea and coronavirus have a complicated relationship.

According to Dr. Raj, there is no evidence that having obstructive sleep apnea alone increases your chance of contracting the coronavirus. He clarifies, however, that some underlying illnesses, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, or even simply getting older, which are frequently present in individuals with sleep apnea, could make you more vulnerable to COVID-19.

According to Dr. Raj, those people already have a significant chance of developing obstructive sleep apnea. It’s connected to coronavirus, albeit perhaps not directly. The answer is to exercise the same prudence that everyone else does: Wash your hands well, keep your distance from others, and go outside wearing a mask.

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Keep using your CPAP machine if you are symptom-free.

You’ve probably questioned if your CPAP machine is doing more damage than good because the coronavirus is particularly dangerous to elderly people and those with respiratory conditions. The query, according to Dr. Raj, is “Will my machine make things worse if I have COVID-19?” “No, is the answer. Wearing your CPAP mask won’t worsen the condition.”

There is no justification for preventing yourself from using your CPAP machine if there are no signs of infection. This is something that Dr. Raj makes very clear: “Continue using your gadget, because you won’t get that good quality sleep otherwise,” he says.

Sleep alone if you have COVID-19.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms or have tested positive, you should sleep alone and away from other members of your home. Because you’re blowing that air in, there’s a potential you might be spreading the infection even more, adds Dr. Raj. When you wear your mask, you could endanger the other residents of your home.

During this public health emergency, even if you are not experiencing any symptoms, you may still want to think about sleeping in a different room from anybody else in your house because infected air from asymptomatic CPAP users could leak from the machine and infect others.

Isolate yourself in a different bedroom, and only use your machine when you’re alone yourself, to reduce exposure. Dr. Raj advises speaking with your sleep physician before making any modifications to your nocturnal routine if self-isolation is not an option for you. They might be able to suggest temporary ways to stop using CPAP machines.

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