How to Use a Nebulizer

Successful nebulizer treatment depends on proper use and care of the nebulizer unit.

The basic steps to set up and use your nebulizer are as follows

  • Make sure your unit, supplies, medications, and accessories are clean and ready to use.
  • Wash your hands well.
  • Connect the hose to an air compressor.
  • Fill the medicine cup with your prescription. To avoid spills, close the medicine cup tightly and always hold the mouthpiece straight up and down.
  • Attach the hose and mouthpiece to the medicine cup.
  • Get comfortable, you'll be spending your treatment time in one place, so make sure you have what you need. Feel free to watch TV, listen to music, read, or just relax during the process. It's recommended that you sit up straight to ensure proper delivery of medicine.
  • Place the mouthpiece between your teeth and seal your mouth around it, or, if you're using a mask, put it on so that it's secure on the face with no gaps.
  • Switch on the power and take slow, deep breaths from the mouthpiece or mask. Hold each breath for two to three seconds before exhaling.
  • Breathe through your mouth until all the medicine is used. This takes 10 to 15 minutes. If needed, use a nose clip so that you breathe only through your mouth. Small children usually do better if they wear a mask.
  • Sometimes, patients feel dizzy or strange during treatment. If this happens, remove the mask or mouthpiece, turn off the machine, and rest for 5 minutes before beginning again, then breathe slowly.
  • Treatment should continue until the medicine has been used.
  • When the treatment is finished, switch off the power, breathe deeply several times, and cough to clear secretions. Spit them into a tissue or basin.
  • Wash the medicine cup and mouthpiece with water and air dry until your next treatment.
  • Wash hands thoroughly.
  • Finally, check your nebulizer supplies and accessories to make sure you'll be ready for the next treatment.
  • If you experience continuing symptoms like dizziness or agitation, seek medical attention. Contact your healthcare provider to learn more about nebulizers.

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