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 that was later modified in 1864, and a new stream is driven nebulizer was invented.

As they say, every invention has its imperfections, and the 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) to 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, they tend to be small in size as compared to other traditional tabletop versions.

And for this reason, these handheld portable travel nebulizer machines are suitable 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 they 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 allow you to use and recharge them in cars.

A few additional benefits of using a handheld nebulizer are:

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

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

Alternate to Inhaler: Portable nebulizer is an alternative to a metered-dose inhaler or MDI, which can be used at home 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.

Suitable for Children: Albuterol handheld nebulizer is much more 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 it.

How To Use Hand Held Nebulizer with Face Mask?

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

Care that every nebulizer is made different and functions differently.

However, the procedure to use these devices is almost the 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 tabletop ultrasonic nebulizer, which is most common for home usage.

Step #1: Wash your hands

The first step of using a nebulizer is to wash your hands using soap & water to make them germ-free.

Step #2: Set up the machine

Next, you should assemble and set up the machine correctly before using it.

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 dry naturally.

Step #3: Prepare and add the medicine

Prepare the medicine correctly 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

Before operating, you need to secure the mouthpiece or face mask to the nebulizer cup. Most of modern machines now use mouthpieces 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 that can be placed easily in the mouth to get 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 correctly assembling the nebulizer machine, you can start the cough/congestion treatment by turning the machine ON.

Keep the medicine container upright 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 the sides of the container to ensure that even the last drop of medicine is turned into mist.

Step #7: Turn OFF the unit and clean thoroughly

The machine will sometimes 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, it’s time to clean the 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 often recommended, especially for people who do not want to use medications for respiratory problems.

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

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

Is Saline for Baby Asthma Cough Safe?

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

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

If signs of acute wheezing and severe asthma are seen, nebulizing just with hypertonic saline may not prove effective.

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

Where Can I Buy Saline Solution For Nebulizer?

Saline for nebulizers is readily 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 that you should not miss out.

You can follow the below steps for cleaning your nebulizer machine thoroughly regularly:

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

For disinfecting and sterilizing the nebulizer unit once 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 your subsequent use.

Important Things To Care about While Using Nebulizer for Asthma

Nebulizers are usually recommended to use in the domiciliary for emergency treatment of different respiratory ailments.

However, before using a nebulizer at home, you should care for specific points so that it does not show any side effects.

Before using the device, ensure it is completely clean and in good working condition. Also, care that you keep changing the filters of your nebulizer 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 running condition.

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

Can You Use A Nebulizer Too Much?

Albuterol nebulizer treatment is usually recommended to be used 3-4 times 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, some might occur due to the chosen medicines. 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, worsening your breathing after the 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 costs. 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 of.

It is best to buy a brand new nebulizer for your baby, which is prettily packed so that your kid can get relieved from all the coughs and congestion in the 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 them 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 impossible without a doctor’s prescription.

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

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

Only with healthy food, proper medications, and a 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!