Cold and flu season is underway. While for many that means an annual flu shot or taking some sick days, for others it might mean something worse. People struggling with the effects of sleep apnea may suffer to an even greater degree. Flu season for sleep apnea sufferers can mean increased difficulty breathing and more significant flu symptoms.
An Overview of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea, specifically obstructive sleep apnea, is a condition where a person’s airway becomes obstructed during sleep. This obstruction restricts airflow and causes regular interruptions in oxygen intake, resulting in urgent wake ups, and inevitable sleep deprivation.
The Flu With Sleep Apnea
Suffering from untreated obstructive sleep apnea can mean an increased likelihood of hospitalization after contracting the flu. According to one study, over 60 percent of people hospitalized with the flu also suffered from obstructive sleep apnea but were not being treated for the condition.
Flu symptoms include:
- Infection of the respiratory tract
- Runny nose
- Fever, chills
- Muscle aches and fatigue
Sleep apnea symptoms include:
- Daytime sleepiness
- Difficulty breathing
- Regular headaches
If you recognize sleep apnea symptoms in your life you should consult with a doctor who can help diagnose your symptoms and identify whether you are affected by sleep apnea.
People who suffer from sleep apnea can protect themselves from contracting the flu by:
- Getting a flu shot
- Washing their hands more often
- Wearing a mask in public places
- Avoiding crowds and socially distancing
The same study mentioned above also notes that of the number of people hospitalized with the flu, only 24 percent used a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. Getting treatment for sleep apnea is one of the best ways to avoid hospitalization should a sufferer contract the flu this season.
Scheduling a Consultation
For more information on sleep apnea, you can schedule a consultation with Dr. Schick by calling our office at 403-407-5730.
*all procedures performed at our practice by a general dentist