Can Using a CPAP Machine Cause Sinus Problems?

Can Using a CPAP Machine Cause Sinus Problems?

Many new CPAP users may experience nasal congestion or sinus infections. While using a CPAP machine does not cause sinus problems, sleep apnea and your sinuses both impact the quality of your sleep.

What is Sinusitis?

Sinusitis, or a sinus infection, is an inflammation of the lining of the sinus tissue. Your sinuses are located on the forehead and on each cheek. When they become obstructed, they fill with mucus, which can lead to infection. Sinusitis affects 1 out of every 7 adults in the United States, with more than 30 million individuals diagnosed each year.1

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep disorder that prevents breathing due to an obstruction or blocked airway. Sinusitis affects the nasal passages, making it difficult to breathe through the nose. While no significant evidence suggests that sleep apnea and sinusitis are causally related, a patient diagnosed with both may have difficulty sleeping, even with CPAP therapy.

How to Prevent Sinus Infections

The good news is that sinus infections are temporary. If you find that you are prone to sinus infections, follow these tips:

  • Stay hydrated
  • Use steam to open nasal passages
  • Sleep with your head elevated
  • Use a humidifier in your home

How to Prevent Sinus Infections with CPAP

If you believe that your CPAP machine is the cause of your sinus problems, you may want to thoroughly clean your equipment. Ensure that your CPAP filters are inspected and changed regularly. Replace damaged or wet filters immediately.

Clean your mask, cushion and tubing daily. Clean all mask parts with warm water and a mild detergent, making sure to rinse them thoroughly and let them dry completely before using them again. Alternatively, products such as CPAP wipes and CPAP sanitizers are helpful tools to keep your equipment clean.

Lastly, if you are using a CPAP humidifier, be sure to dispose of any leftover water each morning. Warm, moist environments like humidifiers are a breeding ground for bacteria that may make you sick. Wash your humidifier regularly with warm, soapy water and make sure it is completely dry before reassembling.

While CPAP machines may not cause sinus problems, sinus infections can make CPAP compliance more difficult. Keep your equipment clean help prevent sickness. For additional information or tips regarding your CPAP therapy, contact our knowledgeable customer care team. Give us a call at 866-414-9700 or email us at


  1. Medscape. Itzhak Brook, MD,  What is the incidence of sinusitis (sinus infection) in the US?. March 2018. Accessed July 2020.

This post was originally published on January 27, 2021 and updated on August, 29, 2023.

Chris Vasta

Chris Vasta is the president of The CPAP Shop and an expert in sleep and respiratory therapy. He often provides insights on product design and functionality on various manufacturers’ prototypes and is frequently tapped to provide reviews on new releases.