With a shortage of respirators across the nation as people battle COVID-19, medical experts are searching for alternative solutions to help patients get the oxygen they need to win their battle. One emergency alternative idea to respirators was using CPAP machines to help patients with less severe breathing issues. Is this an effective way to treat COVID-19 patients?

Why CPAP Isn’t a Good Respirator Alternative

Although CPAP could help save lives by stretching the supply of ventilators, there is one major drawback of using it. When using the CPAP with a facemask, it can aerosol the virus and thus spread it even more. This is true for at-home use or in the hospital. If you have COVID-19 and use a CPAP, you’re spreading the virus every time you use it. If with a special filter in place to stop the spread, it will still leak out.

Medical experts believe CPAP was part of the reason why COVID-19 spread so fast inside a Washington State nursing home. In King County where this occurred, health officials advised first responders and the Fire department not to use CPAP on patients suspected of having COVID-19.

Steer Clear of CPAP

On February 23, the American Society of Anesthesiologists issued a guidance that discourages the use of CPAP on COVID-19 patients due to experiences during the SARS epidemic in 2003. CPAP can pump the virus into the air and spread the disease fast. If you show any symptoms of the novel coronavirus and use a CPAP at home and you live with others, it’s best to not use it with someone in the room.

If you want to err on the side of caution, it’s best to use an oral appliance to treat your sleep apnea in the meantime. Not only will this prevent you from spreading the virus, but it will treat your symptoms just as effectively. The oral appliance works by pushing your jaw in a forward position to open the airway. Wearing it feels a lot like wearing a night guard or mouthguard.

At the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center, we offer a wide range of sleep appliances to help our patients treat their sleep apnea. We understand how uncomfortable and inconvenient CPAP machines are which is why we offer comfortable and effective alternatives. If you need to get into contact with us for any reason, don’t hesitate to contact our dental office for a virtual appointment.