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Why Patients with Sleep Apnea Should Continue Protecting Against COVID-19

Submitted by New Jersey Snoring Solutions on Mon 09/26/2022 - 09:00
sleep apnea covid protection

While precautions against COVID-19 have diminished significantly since the virus’ arrival in the United States, there is no doubt that the coronavirus continues to spread amongst the population. As more and more people return to the office, ditch their masks and resume travel, you may be making your own decisions about what feels right for you and your health.

Multiple studies demonstrate that people who have sleep apnea are more vulnerable to COVID-19 and its effects. Here, the experts at New Jersey Sleep Apnea Solutions present some of the research so that you can make an informed decision about your health.

Increased Chance of Catching COVID-19

One study found that people with (untreated) sleep apnea were more likely to catch COVID compared to a control group without sleep apnea. Though the study can only show correlation and not causation, it would make sense that patients with respiratory issues are more likely to fall victim to an airborne virus. The good news is that patients who treated their sleep apnea significantly reduced their risks.

Infection Is More Severe

Another study found that the symptoms of sleep apnea patients were harsher overall. Those with sleep apnea were more likely to have extreme fever, muscle aches, fatigue, coughing, etc. In fact, 21% of people with sleep apnea who contracted COVID-19 had to be hospitalized — a rate much higher than  average.

Sleep Apnea Gets Worse after COVID-19

Not only does sleep apnea make coronavirus worse, but an infection can worsen the symptoms you experience for your sleep apnea well after you start testing negative. According to the CDC, approximately one in five Americans (with and without sleep apnea) develop what is known as “long COVID” with lingering symptoms. This can exacerbate respiratory issues and heighten the fatigue an already-tired sleep apnea patient may feel.

Take Care of Yourself

With this information in mind, it is a good idea for patients with sleep apnea to continue taking precautions when it comes to COVID-19. Wear a high-quality mask (particularly when indoors and surrounded by many people) to lower your odds of contracting the virus. Getting vaccinated and boosted similarly lowers your risk of getting coronavirus and, just as importantly, dramatically reduces the odds that you will end up in the hospital. Ultimately, it’s your decision what kind of steps you want to take; but knowing your elevated risks may make that decision easier for you.

To learn more about sleep apnea treatment from New Jersey’s finest dentists, please make an appointment with Dr. Ivan Stein or Dr. Allan Stein by calling (855) 949-7667.