What Is A Hand Held Nebulizer: How To Use Them At Home?

Nebulizers are essential for asthma patients, but not many know about the history of this path-breaking device.

It was in early 1858 when the first powered inhaler i.e. nebulizer was invented.

French scientist Sales-Girons is credited with this mind-blowing invention which helped treat Asthma patients.
This nebulizer was a rough version which was later in 1864 modified and a new stream is driven nebulizer was invented.

As they say, every invention has its imperfections and nebulizer is no different.

There were many modifications made to this device till now which helped in making it compact and easier to use.

And today we have the latest handheld ultrasonic wave nebulizer which has made significant changes to the effectiveness of its use in the medical industry.

What Is A Hand Held Nebulizer?

A handheld nebulizer is a portable inhalation device that transforms liquid medication into a fine mist.

The mist can then be inhaled deeply into the lungs to get instant relief from various types of respiratory problems like asthma, COPD, cystic fibrosis, etc.

Portable handheld nebulizers have transformed the use of asthma drugs and medicine to a greater level.

These devices can be used as one of the best methods to keep the attacks of acute asthma and allergies in control by delivering different types of medicines (Albuterol, budesonide, etc) for different patients.

Instead of using an air compressor, ultrasonic handheld nebulizers make use of high-frequency ultrasonic waves and vibrations to convert liquid medication into a mist.

As these devices do not use an air compressor, these tend to be small in size as compared to other traditional tabletop versions.

And for this reason, these handheld portable travel nebulizer machines are good to carry while on the go.

Benefits of Using Handheld Nebulizer

Unlike traditional tabletop nebulizers for upper respiratory infections, handheld nebulizers are portable and convenient to use.

Some of these are so compact that it can fit easily in a pocket or a purse.

Due to its lightweight & compact nature, patients can carry it to use it anytime anywhere.

Especially when you are out of your home (like while traveling, shopping, at the office, etc) and need to get relief medications for your asthma exacerbation, these devices can be of great help.

Another great advantage of using a handheld portable nebulizing device is it does not need electricity for power supply.

As most of these devices come with rechargeable batteries (or disposable batteries) you can easily use them anywhere you want.

Some of these also come with car power adapters which allows you to use and recharge it in cars.

Few additional benefits of using handheld nebulizer are:

Easy to Self Operate: Patients suffering from breathing problems often need to rely on others for getting the inhalation at home.

As handheld nebulizer is easy to operate, you can easily operate yourself without the help of anyone at times of emergency asthma attacks.

Alternate to Inhaler: Portable nebulizer is an alternate to metered-dose inhaler or MDI which can be used at homes for safe use.

In cases where an inhaler is not much effective for a patient, a portable nebulizer can be used effectively to deliver bronchodilators and corticosteroids to curb the symptoms of the persisting ailment.

Good for Children: Albuterol handheld nebulizer is much effective for infants as it provides better long term results as compared to inhalers.

Children suffering from asthma allergies, wheezing and cough can use it safely whenever they require.

How To Use Hand Held Nebulizer with Face Mask?

If you or your family member is suffering from chronic breathing conditions, it is best for you to check how you can use these handheld nebulizing devices at home for getting instant relief.

Care that every nebulizer is made different and function differently.

However the procedure to use these devices are almost same, especially when it’s about using a nebulizer with a mouthpiece or face mask at home.

In the below usage guide we’ll try to explain the usage steps of table top ultrasonic nebulizer, which is most common for home usage.

Step #1: Wash your hands

The very first step of using a nebulizer is to wash you hands using soap & water to make it germ free.

Step #2: Set up the machine

Next you should assemble and set up the machine properly before using. For doing this place it on a sturdy hard surface and see whether the air filter is clean. If the filter is dirty, clean it using some cold water and let it get dried naturally.

Step #3: Prepare and add the medicine

Prepare the medicine properly as prescribed and place it in the medicine container of the nebulizer. If the medicines have to be mixed, then place the correct amounts in the container with the help of a syringe or dropper. Now connect the medicine container to the machine properly.

Step #4: Attach the mouthpiece or face mask

You now need to secure the mouthpiece or face mask to the nebulizer cup before operating. Most of the modern machines now use mouthpiece instead of facemask as it is easy and safe to use.

The aerosol mask is generally used to treat infants while older children or adults can use a mouthpiece which can be placed easily in the mouth for getting the nebulization.

Step #5: Connect the nebulizer tubing

As the last step of assembling your nebulizer you now need to connect the compressor of the nebulizer unit to the nebulizer cup via oxygen tubing. The medicine can be inhaled into the lungs through this tubing.

Step #6: Turn ON the machine and inhale

After assembling the nebulizer machine properly, you can now start the cough/congestion treatment by turning the machine ON.

Keep the medicine container in an upright position and place the mouthpiece into the mouth, above the tongue. Ensure that the lips are sealed tight around the mouthpiece so that no medicine can escape out.

The entire treatment process will require about 8 – 10 minutes. Towards the end of treatment, tap sides of the container to make sure that even the last drop of medicine is turned into mist.

Step #7: Turn OFF the unit and clean thoroughly

At times, the machine will make a sputtering noise indicating that the treatment is completed. When you notice that all the medicine is emptied in the container you can stop the treatment by switching OFF the machine and plugging it out from the outlet.

When you have completed the nebulizer treatment, its time to clean a nebulizer machine and keep it dry for the next usage.

You may also check the below video on detailed steps for using your handheld nebulizer safely…

How To Use A Nebulizer Without Medication?

Water in a nebulizer for cough, stuffy nose, lung congestion, and bronchitis is many times recommended to use, especially for people who do not want to use medications for respiratory problems.

For operating your nebulizer without medicines you need to add salt water solution or saline water (instead of reliever medications) into the medicine cup.

Inhalation of sodium chloride solution actually helps in breaking down the deposited mucus and phlegm in the lungs which are then expelled out as cough easily.

Is Saline for Baby Asthma Cough Safe?

As the saline solution is just a sterile salt water solution and not an actual asthma medication, using it to nebulize the baby is completely safe and free of side effects.

However saline nebulizer for infants should be given after consulting with the pediatrician who can advice the best saline nebuliser dose that can be given for your baby safely without showing any side effects.

Care that if there are signs of acute wheezing and severe asthma seen, nebulizing just with hypertonic saline may not prove much effective.

In this case, you may need to use asthma medications for getting a faster cure.

Where Can I Buy Saline Solution For Nebulizer?

Saline for nebulizer is easily available over the counter at online shopping sites like Amazon.

Care that you buy sterile saline from these stores and not use the homemade saline solution in the nebulizer machine as this can be risky.

How To Clean And Disinfect A Nebulizer Machine?

Cleaning a nebulizer filter regularly and disinfecting it once in a while is an important step which you should not miss out.

You can follow the below steps for cleaning your nebulizer machine thoroughly on a regular basis:

  • Upon getting treated, detach the mouthpiece and medicine container from the tubing
  • Wash the medicine cup and mouthpiece (not the tubing) using a warm soapy water, rinse it properly with clean water again
  • Place the parts of the unit on a clean towel or cotton cloth to let it dry naturally

For disinfecting and sterilizing the nebulizer unit once in a week, you can soak the nebulizer parts (mouthpiece and medicine cup) in a vinegar solution (1 part of white distilled vinegar with 3 parts of hot water).

After an hour remove the parts from the solution and rinse them with clean cold water. Keep it aside to dry out before you store it for next use.

[Also Read: Breathe Easy Tea for Asthma and Respiratory Conditions]

Important Things To Care While Using Nebulizer for Asthma

Nebulizers are usually recommended to use in domiciliary for emergency treatment of different respiratory ailments. However before using a nebulizer at home, you should care for certain points so that it does not show any side effects.

Before using the device, ensure that it is completely clean and in good working condition. Also, care that you keep changing the filters of your nebulizers machine to keep the germs away.

There are many companies that offer maintenance for the nebulizer not misting. You should get your unit serviced once in a while to keep it in a running condition.

When not in use, it is best to keep the machine in cool a dry place away from dust. The unit should be easily reachable when you need them at the time of emergency.

Can You Use A Nebulizer Too Much?

Albuterol nebulizer treatment is usually recommended to be used 3-4 times in a day.

However, the dose of the medicine may vary according to the condition and age of the person. It is, therefore, best to follow the directions and dose prescribed by your doctor.

Care that you do not use more or even fewer medicines as prescribed by your doctor, failing which may not help you get the effective treatment fast.

What Can Be Possible Nebulizer Treatment Side Effects?

Even though nebulizer treatment side effects are rare, but some might take place due to the medicines chosen. Only a doctor can advise you on the best medication that can be used for nebulization.

If you try to use it yourself, you might end up with the wrong medication, getting your breathing worse after nebulizer.

Certain people may also show the signs of increased wheezing, fast heart rate, tiredness, sleepiness, etc after getting the albuterol nebulizer treatment.

Can You Share A Nebulizer Machine With Other Patients?

Patients usually ask if they can share or borrow a nebulizer from a friend or buy a used one to reduce the cost. Well, we would give it an absolute NO.

Nebulizers have thin filters where the germs get trapped and sometimes it gets transferred from one patient to other if not taken proper care.

It is best to buy a brand new nebulizer for your baby, which is pettily packed so that your kid can get relieved from all the cough and congestion in a safest possible way.

Do You Need A Prescription To Buy A Nebulizer Machine?

It is for sure that medicines should not be consumed without consulting your doctor. And same holds true for nebulizers also.

As the machine and the medications deals with core asthma problems, using it without a doctor’s advice can cause some serious issues.

Although purchasing a nebulizer machine for home use does not always require a prescription, getting the medicine to use in the nebulizer is not possible without a doctor’s prescription.

This is due to the fact that without a doctor’s prescription, it is restricted to pass any nebulizer medicine to the patients.

Overall, it is good to know that being a genetic disease, there is no permanent cure for a chronic asthma condition.

Only with healthy food, proper medications and healthy lifestyle, you can get relief from the disease to lead a panic free life.

If you have not yet bought your portable and handy nebulizer, get one now to combat emergency conditions!

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