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Sleep & Oxygen Blog

Get Out The Tissue Box – It’s Allergy Season!

Thursday, June 14, 2018 - CPAP therapy tips
Woman laying on the grass

Every spring/early summer, like clockwork, many Canadians will find themselves suffering from allergies caused by tree, grass and weed pollen.

Allergies can cause a lot more than just sniffling and sneezing – they can also cause more severe symptoms like a sore throat, cough, headache, runny nose, hives and fatigue. Symptoms can often last for several  months or more.

What do pollen, dust, pet dander and dust mite allergies all have in common? The potential to cause irritation. These allergens create an inflammatory response for those who are allergic to them which can increase mucus production, cause tissue in the nose and sinuses to swell and eyes to itch. All of which can have a serious effect on our sleep, in particular for those who have sleep apnea.

How Does This Impact My Sleep Apnea & CPAP Therapy?

Inflammation and irritation of the mucous membranes in the nose cause swelling and mucus buildup. This buildup can block the airway and further aggravate individuals who have narrowed airways to begin with. A blocked nose may also result in mouth breathing, which can lead to less effective CPAP therapy for those who wear a nasal or pillow mask.

An allergy specialist can prescribe different types of treatments to help, depending on your medical needs. Antihistamines often alleviate some allergy symptoms. When a blocked nose turns into rhinitis or sinusitis, stronger treatment may be required at which point antibiotics may be recommended.

Taking some easy and practical measures at home may help minimize any inconvenience before allergies worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea:

  • Install an air purifier in the bedroom
  • Use hypoallergenic bedding to reduce the risk of dust mites that can aggravate allergies
  • Asthma and dust allergy sufferers should dust their house regularly
  • Regularly check/change filters on heating and cooling systems as well as your CPAP unit
  • Be sure to use your heated CPAP humidifier, especially during allergy season
  • Check with your Doctor if a prescription medication may be required
  • Switch to a full face mask if you find yourself breathing through your mouth

For more information or to book an appointment, please contact your local VitalAire clinic.

Tags: CPAP therapy tips