Sleep Apnea and Coronavirus Transmission

Sleep Apnea and Coronavirus Transmission

2019 n-CoV comes from the large family of coronaviruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to a lot more severe respiratory diseases. And the worst thing about this new virus is that it can have no evident symptoms.

Mild health problems like coughing, sneezing, fever, and difficulty in breathing are some of the coronavirus symptoms. However, the tricky thing is that in certain cases, there could be no symptoms, the infected can only be a carrier of the virus, but without being infected themselves. And they can infect several others in the process, without being aware. Otherwise, the infected may develop severe cases like pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, which can all lead to death.

COVID-19 Transmission

What we do know for now about how the coronavirus gets transmitted:

  • Through droplets that are created after coughing or sneezing of infected people
  • If you eat animal products which contain the virus
  • Contact with an infected animal
  • Through public places, mainly while using public transportations, attending meetings, gatherings, etc.

What Can You Do to Protect Yourself?

  • Wash your hand thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and do this frequently.
  • Don’t touch your face, because the virus enters our body through the nose and mouth. If your hands touch an infected place, and then you touch your face, you can get infected.
  • Keep a social distance
  • Keep your mouth covered with masks, cloth, or tissue papers whenever you are around someone who happens to cough or sneeze
  • Stay home as much as possible, especially if you notice you have some symptoms of the coronavirus.

Sleep Apnea Patients’ Concerns

In an interview published by HCPLive®, Seema Khosla, MD, Medical Director of the Center for Sleep, talks about continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device potential to spread the droplets further than normal breathing. This means that those who are using CPAP can put their loved ones at a higher risk of developing the virus.

The important thing that CPAP users should do is to wash their hands before they put on the CPAP mask and clean the equipment thoroughly. Also, they can isolate themselves from their family, just in case they are carriers of the virus, without showing any symptoms. They need to stay extra careful and alarmed.

Khosla announced that her practice switched to 100% telemedicine for the safety of her staff and patients during the coronavirus outbreak.

On one hand, the disadvantage of telemedicine is that patients cannot be tested for sleep apnea, so if the crisis persists for a long time, there could be consequences for the potential sleep apnea patients.

It will also prevent doctors to put patients on treatment programs until testing is available again.

On the other hand, how many patients go to the ER because of sleep apnea? Probably very few. After all, sleep conditions are not extremely urgent and hopefully, patients can manage themselves until everything goes back to normal.

Tips on What to do in the Meantime

In another interview published by HCPLive®, Navya Singh, Doctor of Psychology, Columbia University, talks about how people can maintain their mental health through these uncertain times during the emergency caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

She suggests people wake up at the same time in the morning, no matter if they are working from home. Because it’s important to have a routine and have some sort of stability in your everyday life.

Since nothing is normal anymore, to try to keep up with your usual schedule might do good for your mental health.

Especially for people suffering from sleep disorders, an increased focus on sleep is necessary because more and more people are self-isolating and working from home, which could disrupt their sleep patterns.