Nearing the “End of the Tunnel”
It is April and after all we have been through in the past year due to the COVID-19 crisis, we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. The COVID-19 pandemic created a terrible health situation for all people, but things are starting to look up. Indeed, the new coronavirus for some ended, changed or impacted everyone’s way of life on so many levels. With or without sleep apnea, if you managed to avoid getting sick or survived it you are blessed and have plenty to be grateful for! Let us truly celebrate CPAP Appreciation Day this year on April 18th and is sponsored by the American Sleep Apnea Association (ASAA).
We, as sleep apnea sufferers, have so much for which to appreciate CPAP. This is also a fitting time to talk about CPAP from a historical perspective. We are in the fortieth-year anniversary of the invention of the CPAP machine by Dr. Collin Sullivan in Australia.
There is an upcoming live ASAA Speaker Series event April 18 at 6:00 p.m. Eastern celebrating CPAP Awareness called “Love Your Mask…Love Your Machine.” Registration is free — click here for the link. One of the cornerstones of appreciating our CPAP machines is the fact that we know so much more today about appropriate mask-fitting procedures. Proper knowledge of mask fitting for the new sleep apnea patient that will help an individual become comfortable with their CPAP mask – a major factor in adherence to CPAP therapy.
New patients being armed with information which empowers them to be proactive regarding their own health care course of therapy and sleep apnea journey — another reason to celebrate. Proper knowledge of mask fitting and the new sleep apnea patient that will help an individual become comfortable thus boosting the chances for successful therapy.
Using the CPAP regularly and keeping our machines in good working order is a priority. Thoroughly cleaning my CPAP once a week has been a long-time habit of mine. However, since the COVID-19 crisis, I clean my CPAP every day. It is worth it to be sure that nothing gets a chance to contaminate my machine. I keep it covered while not in use. I try to make sure that when I clean the parts that no one comes in the area as I am in process of cleaning and that nothing from outside can invade the area while the parts are drying.
These simple steps keep the machine in top condition for use and safe from contamination. We all know how uncomfortable the mask can be and what a pain being attached to a machine every night is, but honestly, I would rather the CPAP at night than a ventilator due to illness any day!
The pandemic has caused financial hardships and lack of medical insurance for so many. Through donation programs like the AWAKE Angels, the ASAA can provide masks and other equipment to those without insurance and unable to afford it. ASAA also has the AWAKE Peer Mentor Program where experienced users help new users learn to negotiate using and caring for a CPAP machine. ASAA’s website – www2.emailsleepapnea.org provides loads of valuable information about all forms of sleep apnea and the co-occurring health issues, along with our podcasts, this blog and videos.
So, with new respect and appreciation for your CPAP remember when you go out continue to wear a mask, keep your CPAP and related equipment fresh and clean, self-distance, don’t touch your face, and wash your hands so that you and everyone else will remain safe and healthy!