A nebulizer is used to deliver medications into your lungs when you inhale. It works by changing a liquid medication into a fine mist that is inhaled through a mouthpiece or mask. The most common type of medication used in a nebulizer is a bronchodilator. A bronchodilator opens the air pathways in your lungs. Common examples of nebulizer medications are Ventolin, Albuterol, and Proventil. They help people with asthma, bronchitis, or emphysema breath easier.
A nebulizer is powered by an air compressor, which is plugged into an electrical outlet. Your doctor can prescribe a nebulizer to use in your home. It is different than an inhaler.
Here are the steps to using a nebulizer compressor:
- Place the nebulizer machine with the compressor on a table. The table should be sturdy and at waist high. Place a chair next to the table.
- Wash your hands with soap and water. Then, wash the medication cup that is with your nebulizer with water. Dry it completely.
- Pour the medication into the medication cup. Be sure that you use the correct amount of medication. Do not add extra medication.
- Attach the filled medication cup to the machine. Then connect the tubing. Be sure that the tubing is securely connected to the compressor and mouthpiece.
- Plug the nebulizer machine into the outlet.
- Sit straight up in the chair and position yourself comfortably. Turn on the compressor using the on/off switch.
- If you are using a mouthpiece, put it into your mouth, and seal your lips around it. If you are using a mask, place the mask on your face. It should be snug but not constrictive.
- Take slow deep breaths through your mouth. Continue until all the medication has been inhaled.
- After the treatment is done, clean the medication cup and unplug the machine.
Here are a few other important points:
- It is a good idea to gargle after using a nebulizer medication.
- If you use your nebulizer and your breathing does not improve, call 9-1-1 or your emergency service number. Do not exceed the recommended dosage or frequency. Serious complications can occur.
- Some nebulizer medications can make you feel jittery or dizzy. If this happens, turn off the machine and rest for about 5 minutes. Then finish the medication. Tell your doctor about any usual effects that you notice.
- When you are not using the machine, store it is a dust-free area. Cover it with a cloth. Change the air filter as recommended by the manufacturer.
- You do not need to clean the air tubing.
- If more than one person in your home uses the same nebulizer, use separate mouthpieces.
- If you are also using a steroid inhaler, wait for five minutes after using the nebulizer. This will ensure that your lung passageways are completely open. A steroid inhaler helps to control swelling or inflammation in your air passages. They may be prescribed when you get a chest cold.
- Nebulizers with air compressors are noisy. If you are using a nebulizer on a child and the noise is scaring them, ask your doctor about ultrasonic nebulizer machines.