Can Flu Cause Sleep Apnea? The Surprising link between the 2 conditions

Flu cause sleep apnea

Can Flu cause Sleep Apnea:

Sleep Apnea is a frequent sleep disorder that impacts thousands of people across all over the world. It’s characterised by pauses in breathing, or slow breathing while asleep, and could last for a couple of seconds up to several minutes. Breathing interruptions can happen many each night, causing disruption to the sleep cycle, and leading to poor quality sleep. Sleep apnea could have negative impacts on overall health and wellbeing including increased risk of diabetes, heart disease,dementia , depression, and also reduce the quality of living.

If you want to learn about sleep apnea in details, click here to read this article 

What causes sleep apnea? Many factors may contribute to the onset or aggravation of sleep apnea like weight gain or gender, age as well as the anatomy of the mouth and throat as well as smoking, drinking alcohol medication, and any medical issues. But there’s an element that might be a surprise to you: flu.

You read it correctly. The flu, also known as influenza is a virus which affects the respiratory system and can cause symptoms like the cough, fever as well as sore throats, headache, migraine, a runny nose muscular pains, fatigue. It is extremely contagious and is spread via the respiratory tract through sniffing, coughing, or even talking. Influenza can be a problem for everyone, however certain people are at greater risk of issues, like elderly adults, children pregnant women, patients with chronic illness or weak immune systems.

Click here for the details regarding influenza.

Is there a connection in between flu and sleep apnea? Can flu cause Sleep apnea? If flu cause sleep apnea, how can we prevent it? In this post, we’ll try to answer these questions and explore the intriguing connection between flu and sleep apnea and offer suggestions on how to avoid and manage these conditions.


How Can Flu Cause Sleep Apnea?

How Flu Cause Sleep Apnea Infographic

The flu cause sleep apnea due to blocking, inflammation and swelling of the airways. Airways are tubes that transport air from the nose as well as mouth into the lungs. If you are suffering from the influenza, the airways get irritated and inflamed due to the virus as well as the immune system’s response. It can be difficult for air to flow through the airways, particularly when you lay down to sleep.

In certain cases, inflammation may result in your airways collapsing or shrink significantly, which can lead to the occurrence of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA is by far the most well-known form of sleep apnea. It happens when something interferes with or restricts airflow to the lungs while you sleep. The result can be high-pitched snoring and breathless sounds, or a period in silence, which are followed by rapid awaken.

Furthermore, influenza could cause mucus buildup in your nose as well as throat. The result is that it can obstruct the airways, making breathing difficult while you are asleep. It can lead to OSA or worsen the signs.

how flu cause sleep apnea

The flu may also impact the central nervous system (CNS) that controls the way you breathe. Your CNS is made up of your brain as well as the your spinal cord. When you get sick the CNS may get affected due to the illness or the fever that is associated with it. It can affect the messages your brain transmits to the muscles in your body that regulate breathing. It can result in Central Sleep Apnea (CSA). CSA is a lesser-known form of sleep apnea. It happens when the brain is unable to properly send signals to your breathing muscles while you sleeping. The result is pauses in breathing, or shallow breathing, without obstructions in the airways.

Flu can trigger an ensuing combination of OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea) as well as CSA (Central Sleep Apnea) at times. This is known as complex sleep apnea or Treatment-Emergent Central Sleep Apnea  (TECSA). TECSA occurs when a person has OSA that transforms into CSA after receiving treatment to treat OSA. In particular, those who are using an airway pressure continuous positive (CPAP) device for OSA might be diagnosed with CSA as a result from the treatment.

What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea Caused by Flu?

Sleep apnea is a severe sleep disorder which needs to be treated. The signs and symptoms of sleep apnea that is caused by influenza are similar to the symptoms of normal sleep apnea. These include:

  • Loud snoring.
  • Acute episodes of breathing stopped or a shallow breath while asleep.
  • Either way, you may be gasping for air or becoming choking in sleep.
  • Awaking with sore throat or dry mouth.
  • Morning morning headache.
  • The fatigue or sleepiness of the daytime.
  • Trouble concentrating or remembering information.
  • Changes in mood or irritation.
  • Reduced sexual libido, or decreased sexual performance.

However, certain symptoms might appear more prominent or obvious during the flu season or sleep apnea. As an example, you may experience:

  • Longer or more frequent pauses in breathing while asleep.
  • More severe snoring or gasping sounds during sleep.
  • Trouble getting to sleep or staying awake due to congestion the cough or high fever.
  • Additional symptoms that occur during the day like headache, fever, cough or sore throat, dry eyes, headaches, muscle tension, or fatigue.

If you are suffering from one of these signs, it is recommended to consult with your doctor or a sleep expert immediately. They will be able to diagnose the problem and give you an appropriate treatment.


How to Prevent and Treat Flu Caused Sleep apnea?Treatment of sleep apnea

The best method to prevent sleep apnea which is caused by influenza is to avoid flu from occurring. This can be done by:

  • Get a vaccine for the flu each year: This vaccine protects against the most commonly-used types of flu as well as reduce the risk of being sick or experiencing complications. It is suggested for anyone aged 6 months and older, and especially for those at a the highest risk of complications from flu.
  • Maintaining a healthy hygiene: You can stop spreading influenza by washing your hands regularly by using soap and water or by using alcohol-based hand soap by protecting your nose and mouth when you cough or wheeze avoid touching your nose, eyes or mouth using unwashed hands.
  • Avoiding contact with sick people: Avoid contracting virus from people around you by avoiding individuals who show signs of flu symptoms, including cough, fever and sore throat or running nose. If you are required to interact with someone suffering from the flu, make sure you wear an eye mask or maintain the distance to at least six feet.
  • Boosting your immune system: It is possible to boost your immunity and fight from infections through having a balanced, healthy food plan, drinking lots of water, taking adequate rest, working out regularly and regulating the anxiety levels.

If you’ve already got the flu or sleep apnea, you should seek medical treatment as per your doctor’s recommendations. The possible treatment options to treat sleep apnea caused by flu include:

  1. Antiviral drugs: These medications can assist in decreasing the severity and duration of signs and symptoms caused by the flu by limiting the growth of the virus the body. The most efficient dosage is consumed within the first 48 hours following the beginning of symptoms. It is also possible to prevent or ease complications, such as bronchitis or pneumonia.
  2. Decongestants: Decongestant medicines aid in relieving nasal congestion and mucus buildup. They do this by shrinking blood vessels within the nasal and sinuses. These can be consumed by mouth or in drops or nasal sprays. They can help to increase your breath and decrease sleeping snoring. But, they must be handled with care and for only a brief period of duration, since they could result in side effects, such as elevated blood pressure, increased heart rate or sleepiness.
  3. Anti-inflammatory medications: These medications can assist in the reduction of swelling and inflammation in the airways of your body by stopping the release of chemical substances which trigger them. These can be consumed either orally, or via nasal drops or sprays. They can help to in improving your breathing as well as reducing sleeping snoring. But, they must be handled with care and for only a brief period of duration, because they could result in side effects, such as digestive irritations, blood loss or ulcers.
  4. CPAP machine: This device gives a constant flow of air pressurized through an air mask that protects your mouth and nose while you sleeping. This keeps your airways clear and stops their narrowing or collapse due to congestion or inflammation. It’s one of the most efficient treatments for OSA However, it can assist people suffering from CSA as well as TECSA.
  5. Oral devices: These are the devices that can be placed inside your mouth, and can allow you to adjust the angle of your mouth, tongue and soft palate while you sleeping. They keep your airways clear and stop their narrowing or collapse due to congestion or inflammation. They’re less intrusive than CPAP devices, but they might not be equally effective for the most severe forms of OSA.
  6. Surgery: It is a last-resort alternative that involves the removal or altering certain tissues within your mouth and throat that can cause a narrowing or obstruction of your airways when you are sleeping. This treatment may be beneficial to some suffering from OSA that do not respond to different treatments, however it might not work in the case of CSA as well as TECSA.


1.Can flu cause sleep apnea? 

The flu cause sleep apnea due to blocking, inflammation and swelling of the airways. Due to this, it can be difficult for air to flow through the airways, particularly when you lay down to sleep.

2. Can flu make sleep apnea worse ?

Flu can worsen the sleep apnea symptoms due to the increased inflammation and congestion in the airways. This can lead to severe and more frequent episodes of sleep apnea during illness.

3. Can flu caused sleep apnea be treated?

Yes, sleep apnea caused by flu can be managed. CPAP(Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) therapy is the most effective and common treatment for sleep apnea and can be used during the flu to keep the airways open during sleep. Also, certain medications and devices are also available that can help in the treatment.

4. How to prevent sleep apnea caused by flu?

Sleep apnea caused by flu can be prevented by vaccination, maintaining a healthy hygiene, boosting the immunity and avoiding contact with the people who are sick.

5. What are the symptoms of flu caused sleep apnea?

The symptoms of sleep apnea caused by flu are loud snoring, sore throat, difficulty breathing, fatigue, morning headache, and irritation.



Sleep apnea can be a significant sleep disorder that has adverse consequences for wellbeing and health. Flu is a frequent virus that may affect the respiratory system. It can cause symptoms like cold, cough and sore throat, a runny nose, headache, muscular tension, and fatigue.

The flu cause sleep apnea through the cause of inflammation and swelling of the airways. This can cause breathing difficulties in sleep. It can also impact the nervous system of central and can affect the signaling that regulate breathing in the night.

The flu cause sleep apnea and its symptoms are also similar to the symptoms of normal sleep apnea. However it is possible that they are more prominent or evident if you suffer from both of the conditions.

The best method to stop flu caused sleep apnea is to avoid the virus itself from happening by receiving the flu vaccination every year and maintaining a healthy lifestyle and staying clear of contact with people who are sick and strengthening the immune system.

If you’ve already got the sleep apnea and flu, you must seek medical attention and seek advice from your physician. One of the solutions for sleep apnea brought on by influenza are antiviral medicines, decongestants and anti-inflammatory drugs, CPAP machine, oral appliances or surgical.

Flu caused sleep apnea is a condition that lasts a few days and typically disappears when the flu has been eliminated. It can however pose serious risks to the health of your body and mind in the event that it is not treated. So, it’s important to be aware of the signs of sleep apnea triggered by the flu and seek treatment immediately. In doing this it will help enhance your sleeping quality and general well-being.


  • Mayo Clinic. (2018, December 28). Sleep apnea – Symptoms and causes.
  • CDC. (2020, September 8). Influenza (Flu).
  • WHO. (2020). Physical Activity.
  • Sleep Foundation. (2020, October 30). How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?
  • Alaska Sleep Clinic. (2019, January 15). Sleep Apnea and the Flu: What You Need to Know.
  • Sleep Review. (2018, January 16). Sleep Apnea and Influenza: A Dangerous Combination.


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17 Responses

  1. Brilliant breakdown on Flu-induced Sleep Apnea! Loved how it explained the connection, symptoms, and prevention. Super helpful FAQs and solid references too. You’ve nailed it – concise, informative, and a must-read for all. 🤩🌙🤧

  2. Wow didn’t know the the flu can be a cause of sleep apnea. Just learned something new today. I wish doctors come up with a new help for sleep apnea that doesn’t require a machine that my hubby refuses to use as he says it is a feeling of claustrophobic.

  3. I’ve always wondered about this subject due to all the symptoms of the flu-especially after the last few years.

  4. Your post did teach me something new – this connection between sleep apnea and the flu.. I have friends whose spouses suffer from sleep apnea so will let them know

  5. Any disruption with our health can cause difficulty in sleeping, this makes so much sense. Never knew that flu can cause it much further to sleep apnea. Thanks for the info and tips.

  6. Your post has given me new information that I didn’t know, that having the flu would affect your sleep and cause side effects. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  7. Fascinating read! Your article sheds light on the unexpected connection between flu and sleep apnea. The insights you shared were enlightening, and I appreciate how you explored this topic. Keep up the great work in uncovering such intriguing health connections! 🤯🦠💤

  8. Wow, this is really interesting. I would have never know about this. I would have never known the flu could have possibly caused it.

  9. Wow… this is an eye opener for me as I had no idea that there was any connection between the two. This is very interesting and appreciate you sharing as I had no idea that this was even a thing. My father in law has sleep apnea.

  10. My dad has sleep apnea though it’s undiagnosed. He checks the boxes though for the most common symptoms. He gets a flu vaccine every season though so hopefully that’ll help.

  11. Wow! What a wonderfully deep and researched article. This is not something I ever considered but it seems like a real issue. Thanks for sharing real prevention and solutions.

  12. Wow, that’s amazing! It’s one of the most interesting topics I’ve ever heard about! The information you provided is beneficial. Thanks for sharing it with me.

  13. Any respiratory problems could lead to sleep apnea. It’s important to see a dr if your having any symptoms like shortness of breath, coughing fits, or even apnea. They can help you with medications and further testing for sleep disorders.

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