Using a nebulizer: Instructions and safety tips

Wouldn’t it be a great relief if treatment with medical equipment was made possible at home? Turns out, there are certain medical equipment you can use from the comfort of your home and we will be discussing one of them here. In this article, we will give all the information about “Nebulizer”, which is a device that helps with breathing problems.

What are Nebulizers?

A Nebulizer is a breathing machine which turns liquid medicine into a mist, which can be inhaled easily into the lungs. It is one of the respiratory care devices which can be used at home for children, adults and elderly with ease providing instant relief from respiratory problems such as difficulty in breathing, wheezing or cough due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma. The use of nebulizer should be prescribed by a registered doctor and the way to use should also be explained clearly to avoid any hazard. 

Types of nebulizers:

  1. Stationary Nebulizers/ Table top Nebulizers: Stationary Nebulizers are preferred for indoor use such as at home or hospitals. They are mainly recommended for children and elderly. They are preferred over Portable Nebulizers as they are cheaper and have long durability and warranty. 
  2. Portable Nebulizers/ Mobile Nebulizers: Portable Nebulizers, also called as hand-held Nebulizers, have the most mobility as they can be carried easily with patients while travelling or moving around. They work on batteries or auto adapters. These are smaller in size and lighter in weight than Stationary Nebulizers which make them easy to carry anywhere. 

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How to use Nebulizer?

  • Wash your hands before preparing Nebulizer for each use. 
  • Pour the prescribed dose of medicine into clean Nebulizer cup and close tightly to avoid leakage. 
  • Connect one end of the tubing to the cup and other end to the air compressor.
  • Then, connect the mouthpiece or mask on top of the Nebulizer cup containing the medicine.
  • Place the mouthpiece in the mouth between the teeth closing your lips around it or place the mask covering nose and mouth. Turn on the air compressor. 
  • Always hold the Nebulizer cup in an upright position and breathe in through your mouth until there is no mist coming out. 
  • Turn off when there is no mist, as it indicates that the medicine is over. 

How to clean Nebulizers?

Cleaning a Nebulizer plays a vital role after each use in order to eliminate germs entering the lungs next time you use it. 

  • Disconnect the Nebulizer cup and mask or mouthpiece and wash them with warm, soapy water.  
  • Shake off the excess water and reconnect the Nebulizer cup and mask or mouthpiece to air compressor. 
  • Turn on the compressor to air dry them. 

Precautions to be taken while using Stationary Nebulizers:

To diminish the risk of electric shock:

  • Switch off and unplug immediately after use. 
  • Do not use the equipment with wet hands. 
  • Do not store it in a place where there is risk of falling into water or sink. 
  • Do not use the equipment with damaged plug or if it is sparking, emitting unusual smell or smoke. 

Precautions to be taken while using Portable Nebulizers:

  • Avoid contact of batteries with water.
  • In case of using rechargeable batteries, allow them to cool as overheated batteries may not operate. 

Nebulizers for children (up to 12 years of age):

  • Using Nebulizer for babies or kids is a little challenging task as kids never sit at a place for long time. However, one can make it interesting for kids by showing the mask as a pilot mask used by pilots or space mask used by astronauts in space, telling them interesting stories or watching their favorite shows with them while using the Nebulizer.
  • Avoid using Nebulizer while the kid is crying, as the unstable child might not inhale the right amount of medicine dose and the struggle to place the mouthpiece properly might worsen the asthma symptoms. 
  • For wriggly babies, nebulizers can be used while they are sleeping.   

Is Nebulizer used to relieve blocked nose?

Nebulizers are used to relieve blocked nose by delivering medicine directly to the upper respiratory tract providing instant relief. 

Do Nebulizers cause itching in the nose?

The solution used in Nebulizers can cause certain side effects such as itching in the nose, sneezing or nausea. However, if these symptoms persist or worsen, consult a doctor.