When you have a chronic or recurring disease such as Asthma, Bronchitis, Bronchiolitis, Emphysema, or other breathing problems, you may be required to use a nebulizer. But, are you doing it properly to receive the accurate dose?
The first step to ensure that you get it correctly every time is to have your doctor explain it to you thoroughly before you ever use it. You should listen to your doctor well. Your doctor is your best source of information.
Let’s say you forgot what your doctor said and you found this article while trying to figure it out. Maybe you just need a refresher or you just want to check to see that you’re doing it correctly. First, let me tell you that I’m not a doctor. I am just an overprotective, sometimes obsessive, mother of children with asthma. I have a lot of experience using a nebulizer machine. But, as with all medical advice, please check with your doctor before starting or changing anything related to your health.
The first thing you’ll do is plug in your machine. Some machines are small and compact and some are big and bulky. They all need to be plugged into an outlet for use. Some have special attachments that you can use to get power through your cigarette lighter in your vehicle, much like a cellular phone charger. Just make sure you have your device hooked to an outlet. Make sure the power is turned off before proceeding to the next step.
Now, you will need to attach the plastic tubing to the nebulizer machine. Most of them attach somewhere in the center, but some models will vary. The area you attach the tube to will be a small round protrusion that has a hole in it. It will be sticking out just enough to ensure that the tubing will attach correctly. Make sure to attach the tubing securely. If your tubing is not attached securely, your nebulizer cup will not receive air or the tube will blow off during the treatment. While the tube blowing off can be quite funny, if the person receiving the treatment is having a severe attack, you don’t want to be messing with the tubing during the treatment.
Once your tubing is secure, get out the medicine. Some people will have medicine that needs to be mixed and some will have premixed medicine in ready to use nebules. Either way, prepare your medicine for use. Once you have the medicine ready, add it to your medicine cup and screw the medicine cup together.
Next, you’ll attach the tubing to the bottom of your medicine cup. As with attaching the tubing to the machine, you’ll want to be sure it is attached securely to the cup. The procedure is the same.
Then, you’ll want to attach your mask or other breathing apparatus to the medicine cup. This must also be attached securely to prevent the medicine and air from leaking out.
Once this has been done, the breathing apparatus must be placed in the mouth or over the face, according to your doctor’s instructions. If you are using a mask, be sure that the mask is on the face correctly. The mask should be covering the nose as well as the mouth. The two holes should be lined up so that when the person is breathing, the air from their nose will blow in and out the holes. The mask should be tight, but not so tight that it causes marks on the face.
Once your apparatus is secure, then you can turn on the power button and take your treatment. The amount of time for different treatments will vary. Generally, when you see no more white “fog” coming from the area of the medicine cup and there is no more liquid in the cup, your treatment is done.
Once the treatment is done, all equipment, except for the tubing, should be sterilized in hot water and allowed to air dry. You can sterilize it by soaking it in boiling hot water for 15 – 20 minutes or even boiling it that amount of time. No chemicals or soaps should be used. Most equipment is also dishwasher safe on the top rack, but be sure to ask your doctor or pharmacist if this applies to your equipment before trying it. When using the dishwasher method, do not use dish washing liquid. Run the dishwasher without any soaps or cleaners. Do not dry the equipment with towels, napkins, or any other materials. Air drying is best, so the equipment does not collect dust particles.
If you wish to clean your tubing, the way my doctors have recommended it is to just turn on the machine and let the air blow through the tubing without the other items attached to it. Let it run for just a few minutes. The filter in your nebulizer is good enough to clean this part.
To clean off the outside of your nebulizer machine, just use a damp cloth with a little bit of dish soap. Do not use any harsh chemicals.
Remember to change the filter on your nebulizer regularly according the manufacturer’s recommendations.
* Remember: This author is not a medical professional. Please consult an appropriately licensed medical professional for all of your healthcare needs.
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