Nebulizers

nebulizer

One of the common need for the elders at home is this Nebulizer. Nebulizer is also a part of a home care services especially during the winter season where any age group who are affected with the respiratory problems are relieved with the help of Nebulization. Hence we shall know about the Nebulizer in detail. Nebulizer is a machine which helps to convert the liquid medicine into a mist which will be inhaled by the people for their treatment. It is one of a less expensive way, easy adaptable and commonly used for the respiratory problems like Asthma, chest congestion etc.

What is a Nebulizer?

A nebulizer is a type of a breathing machine used to treat the lung conditions such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, and other respiratory illnesses. Medications can be administered in the form of a mist which is inhaled into the lungs and are often used in situations where the use of an inhaler is difficult or ineffective. These nebulizers will limit the side effects of medications for example like steroids since the medicines are directly delivered into the respiratory system.

A nebulizer will push the compressed air through the liquid medication, which will form as a mist. The mist will then be inhaled with the help of a face mask or a mouthpiece. Usual timing will be 10-15 minutes. The nebulizer can be used as relievers or preventers. Because many old people especially during the winter season will find the difficulty in breathing which can be resolved with the nebulizer. There are some old people will take the nebulizer as routine by which they feel they will have an uninterrupted sleep. For some people those who have poor oxygen saturation will use the oxygen support along with the nebulizer.

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Who needs nebulizer?
  • People who have respiratory diseases like Asthma
  • Such patients who are not able to use inhalers
  • Such patients who cannot use their hands due to nervous problems/Poor co-ordination
  • People who have excessive lung secretions
How do I assemble my Nebulizer?
  • Before assembling the nebulizer first we need to know the components and the accessories of the nubulizer unit.
  • You should have an air compressor, medication cup, mask or the mouthpiece, tubing and measuring device if the medication needs to be measured medication ampule, syringe.
  • Place your nebulizer (air compressor unit) on a table or on a stable surface.
  • Make sure all the accessories and components have been cleaned and dried according to the instructions.
  • Wash hands thoroughly.
  • Measure the medication as per the suggested quantity as per the prescription/ the instructions given by the physician.
  • Top of the nebulizer cup can be opened and dispense the medicine in front of the cup. Close the cup.
  • Once when the cup is attached to the mouthpiece or face mask the tubings can be connected to the compressor and the cup.
  • Once when we switch on the compressor then we can begin the treatment.

Every nebulizer comes with some specific instructions. We should always refer the instructions before using for the first time.

Know Your Nebulizer Parts

There are various models of nebulizer and each one is a little different from the others. These general guidelines helps to know the nebulizer parts which helps to understand the basic idea of what makes a nebulizer system function.

  • Nebulizer compressor: It is called as the base of the system. This will pump air into the medication cup to create a breathable mist.
  • Nebulizer cup: It is also called as reservoir where the measured liquid medication goes.
  • Mouthpiece/mask: This is the opening through which the mist is inhaled. Almost all the nebulizer sets come with mouthpieces, but masks are also available for those who find them more comfortable or who have trouble using the mouthpiece.
  • Tubing: This tube helps to deliver air from the compressor to the cup which contains the medicine.
  • Tubing connectors: These tubes connect the tubing to the compressor and nebulizer cup.

All the manufacturers provide specific information about the nebulizers they make, so we need to check our user's manual to learn more about our model. Also, check with your manufacturer for warranty and replacement information.

How do I use my Nebulizer?

Successful nebulizer treatment depends on the proper use and care of our nebulizer kit. Here are some instructions on using the nebulizer:

  • Each treatment should be given enough time and always schedule each treatment. The treatment timing depends on the type of the nebulizer.
  • Make sure the nebulizer and its necessary articles are clean and ready to use always so that in case of emergency also we can use immediately.
  • Get comfortable—During the treatment time we can engage ourselves like watching TV, listening to music, reading books or just relax during the process. Always the straight posture is recommended so the medicine is delivered properly.
  • Place the mouthpiece between your teeth and seal your mouth around it, or, We should ensure that there are no gaps and its secured well in case of mask.
  • Once when we Switch on the power then take slow, deep breaths from the mouthpiece or mask. The person should hold each breath for few seconds before exhalation.
  • Treatment should continue until the medicine has been used.
  • Sometimes, some patients may feel dizzy or strange during treatment. If this happens, remove the mask or mouthpiece, we can also turn off the machine, and provide rest for 5 minutes before beginning again, then breathe slowly.
  • When the treatment is finished, after we switch off the power, deep breathing should be done several times and we need to cough so that the secretions are cleared. Spit out the secretions.
  • Wash hands thoroughly
  • Finally, we need to check the supplies and accessories to make sure you'll be ready for the next treatment.

If the symptoms like dizziness or agitation continues then we should immediately seek the medical help or we can also go to the nearby hospital.

Proper Use of Your Nebulizer

We need to get information about the nebulizer use and also the care of nebulizer before we start using them so that we will get the best results. We should always keep the nebulizer in working condition so that we get the successful treatment which automatically minimize the symptoms.

Here are some mistakes commonly made in nebulizer use:

  • We can always get the advice from our healthcare provider regarding the medications and the type of Nebulizer.
  • Using a nebulizer only upon the emergence of symptoms.
  • We may not know the proper assembly and the operating instructions for a nebulizer.
  • Filters, nebulizer cup or the tubing’s are are not changed on a regular interval.
  • Measuring medication improperly.
  • For the small children, it may not be friendly to make an attempt.

Only if we know the common mistakes we can prevent the misuse of the nebulizer treatment.

Maintenance of a nebulizer

Variety of machines available in the market. We can choose the equipment according to our need and the comfort. There are also machines available with the battery backup, electrical operated etc. Now a days new advanced machines are also available which are portable, lighter. There are machines available which can be plugged in the car also. This mainly helps during the transport and also for the people who are always travelling.

To maintain the nebulizer:

All the parts to be cleaned after each use

Every 3 months the tubings, mask or the mouth piece must be replaced or if there is any damage it has to replaced immediately

The filters in the nebulizer must be checked, cleaned and replaced regularly

The pump in the nebulizer machine should be serviced every 6 months so that it will work effectively

If we do not maintain the nebulizer the person may not receive the necessary dosage of medication which will increase the risk of getting infection as well as the deterioration of their illness.

Replacing Your Nebulizer

If you use a nebulizer to manage your asthma or another medical condition, we should know do we need to replace the compressor or other components. Nebulizers will last longer only when the proper care is given. Proper care involves checking the air filter frequently and changing it when necessary. The uncleaned filter will make the compressor work harder so only if we keep it clean the life of the machine will extend.

To ensure the proper treatment and hygiene we should keep the Nebulizer always in a clean condition. Dust and particle will settle on the nebulizer or its accessories which may cause the machine to fail. Most systems should be replaced at least every 5 years. We should always ensure that the nebulizer components are also cleaned according to the instructions which will promote the effective treatment and prevent the spread of germs/ infection.

When we are changing the air filter and cleaning the system properly we should be very cautious because the plastic components do break down over a period of time, and the nebulizer may eventually fail. When it comes time to replace the nebulizer system, we need to choose one which will work with specific medication (for example, the medication Pulmicort cannot be used with ultrasonic nebulizers).

Tips for the Fast and Easy Nebulizer Treatments

Nebulizer treatments can become a daily need, but with a few easy changes, we can speed up the treatment time and be on your way faster. Here are a few steps you can do to decrease your treatment time:

  • We need to ensure that the filter is always clean. A dirty filter will put unnecessary strain on the compressor and can slow down the treatment.
  • Be sure that the nebulizer set is new. There will be a disposable sets, which will come along with the compressors, are only meant to use up to 10 treatments. There are reusable nebulizer sets which can last up to 6 months. We should ensure that the nebulizer set is fresh always and ready to use
Disposable Nebulizer Sets

For the safety and also for the convenience only these disposable nebulizer sets are available in the market. While reusable models can be used for longer period say for example 6 months. Disposable sets can make the breathing treatments easier in some situations.

These disposable sets are most commonly used in the hospitals and in the emergency departments due to its patient volume. They're also often used in doctor's clinic where the doctors will send them with that tube so that if necessary they can use in their house. If the doctor provides a nebulizer set, we need to ensure that it is a disposable one.

Medications Used with Nebulizers

There are various types of prescription for the asthma medications which can be used with an aerosol compressor (or nebulizer). These include:

  • Fast relief or the Quick-relief medications are used to reduce airway inflammation, bronchial swelling, and overproduction of mucus.
  • Long-term control/ or the long term need medications are the one which helps to manage the symptoms on a daily basis.

Quick-relief medications such as albuterol/ salbutamol which will help to relieve sudden asthma symptoms. They typically will begin to work within 5 to 15 minutes after the treatment and can usually be given every 3 to 4 hours, depending on the Physician’s order.

Preventive medicines like steroids and mast-cell inhibitors helps to manage the severity of the symptoms. A bronchodilator can be used to improve the airflow. Steroids are taken once or twice daily and it works to control inflammation, and mast-cell inhibitors to decrease the inflammation.

There are some medications which are compatible with certain types of nebulizers only. We need to get the specific medications from the physician.

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