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How to Use A Nebulizer

Upon physician orders, your respiratory therapist will teach you how to use your nebulizer setup.

Metered-dose inhalers (MDI’s) are effective at controlling COPD and asthma symptoms, but not everyone is able to coordinate the use of an inhaler.

Asthmatic children younger than 5 years have difficulty managing an inhaler. Even older adults also have trouble coordinating a metered-dose inhaler (MDI). Those patients experiencing a severe asthma attack are unable to control their breathing to effectively use an inhaler.

A solution to this is to give medication in a device called a nebulizer. It produces a fine mist of the liquid medication placed inside it. Using a mouthpiece or a mask connected to the nebulizer, you are able to breathe in the cool, fine mist.

To use a nebulizer machine, you place a physician prescribed medication, liquid dosage into the nebulizer cup/chamber. You then reconnect the mask or mouthpiece. You turn the nebulizer machine on and place the mask on or put the mouthpiece in your mouth. Most nebulizer machines plug into an electrical outlet, but offer battery backup. This nebulizer breathing treatment will last for approximately 10-15 minutes, depending on your medication dosage. When you notice that the cool mist is no longer being emitted from the nebulizer, you can turn the machine off.

To clean your nebulizer you may rinse the nebulizer cup with a vinegar and water solution. Wipe off the mouthpiece or mask with the same solution and dust off your machine weekly. Your respiratory therapist will replace the small filter in your machine every 3-6 months. You should replace your daily used nebulizer with a new setup each month.

Research shows that inhalers (MDIs), when used correctly, are as effective as nebulizers. Unless indicated by a physician, most children and adults will not need to utilize a nebulizer.

Your respiratory therapist or nurse will help you along the way with any questions you may have.