How to Properly Administer a Nebulizer Treatment?

If your healthcare provider orders nebulizer treatments, there is a proper way to administer the medication. Your nebulizer set up will consist of several parts. Let’s review them: 

Tabletop compressor, nebulizer medicine cup, tubing. The medicine cup will have a removable top that either screws on or pops back onto the nebulizer cup.  Be aware of all of the parts for your medicine cup, if you lose a part, you may not be able to nebulize your medication.

Things keep in mind during Nebulizer Treatment

When ready to administer a breathing treatment, find a place that is comfortable to sit as the treatment may take up to 10 minutes to complete Have all of your supplies ready: nebulizer, medication, and tissues.  Using a clean nebulizer cup, add your medication to the cup.  Your pharmacy has most likely supplied you with “unit dose” medication.  That means that the medication needed is pre-measured and mixed already with a dilutant and is ready to take. It will come in small plastic tubes with a top that you twist off. If you have been given full strength medication in a bottle with a dropper, you will be instructed as to how much you will need to measure out for each treatment and you will need to dilute with saline.

Your healthcare provider will write a prescription detailing what medication you will need and how often you will need to take it. Once you have chosen a spot to sit and take your treatment, plug in your nebulizer compressor.  Attach your medicine cup via the tubing to the compressor.  Add your medication and turn on the machine.  Sit and breathe normally while taking the treatment.  Every so many breaths, take a deep breath in and hold it for a few seconds, this allows the particles of the medication to reach the deeper portions of the lungs. If you need to stop the treatment for any reason, simply turn off the compressor and resume the treatment when ready. The reason I suggest to have tissues handy is because your breathing treatment will most likely bring up mucus from your airway.  This is a good thing as this is what one of the purposes of the medication(s). Make note, if you can, of what the mucus looks like; is it yellow, brown, clear, frothy, thick, bloody.  If you have any mucus that looks unusual, you will need to report that to your doctor or healthcare provider for further investigation.

Once your treatment is completed, you will need to clean your medicine cup and have it ready for your next treatment. Most neb cups are disposable and are made to last for up to two weeks or so before throwing away. Cleaning consists of warm soapy water, swish the neb cup in the soap solution, rinse well and let air dry.  Cover with a clean paper towel until next treatment. Do not attempt to dry the inside of the nebulizer cup as this may leave paper or towel fibers that may be inhaled on the next treatment. The Pari nebulizer medication cup is non-disposable and can go into the top rack of the dishwasher making daily cleaning easy.  This nebulizer cup is made to last up to 6 months before changing is needed. The Pari medication cup nebulizes the meds faster than the standard disposable side-stream or acorn nebulizer cups. With the Pari, your treatment will be completed in about 3- 5 minutes as opposed to 8-10 minutes with standard disposable medication cups.

Tips to remember during Nebulizer Treatment

  • Take treatments as prescribed (do not discontinue your medication unless your doctor tells you to)
  • Clean your medication cup in between treatments (let air dry)
  • Have extra nebulizer supplies on hand (ie: medication cups, tubing)
  • If using an inhaled steroid, you need to rinse your mouth well after treatment and brush your teeth if possible
  • Keep medications away from windows and heat, it will affect its efficacy (many meds degrade in sunlight or heat)
  • If you are not getting relief from your breathing treatments, it’s time to speak to your healthcare provider
  • Have an inhaler with the same medication to keep in your pocket or purse, etc. for when you are away from your table-top unit
  • NEVER share your medication with someone else

 

All You Need To Know About Nebulizer Treatment

 

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