Nebulizer for asthma is a portable machine which when used with a medicine creates a mist of medicinal air helping asthma patients to breathe easy.
A nebulizer kit or a device consists of four main parts.
1- A machine or a compressor that powers the nebulizer.
2- A tube that acts as a connection between the machine and the medicine container attached to the mouthpiece of a face mask.
3- A medicine container where the medicine is transformed into a mist. The amount of mist that has to be received can be controlled with the help of a valve that can either decrease or increase the amount of the mist you receive.
4- A face mask or mouthpiece that has to be used to breathe in the mist into the lungs.
Nebulizer treatment is one of the best methods that is prescribed by the doctors for emergency asthma attacks.
However to get the maximum benefit out of it, it’s important that you know about the basic steps of using a nebulizer at home for relieving problems like bronchitis, asthma, copd, cough and chest congestion.
In This Article ...
How To Use Nebulizer With Face Mask Or Mouthpiece?
Every nebulizer is made different and function differently. However the procedure to use these devices are almost same. 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 uses mouthpiece instead of facemask as it is easy and safe to use.
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 a 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 next usage.
[Also Read: 6 Best Breathing Exercise for Asthma Patients]
How To Use A Nebulizer Without Medication?
Water in 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 is then expelled out as cough easily.
Is Saline for Baby Asthma Cough Safe?
As saline solution is just a sterile salt water solution and not an actual asthma medication, using it to nebulise 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 the 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.
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 less 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 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 petty 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 doctor’s prescription, it is restricted to pass any nebulizer medicine to the patients.