nebulizer and its procedure

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nebulizer machine

Like almost all respiratory diseases, the recent COVID-19 illness also affects your lungs by causing inflammation and breathing problems. In more severe cases, the respiratory distress is acute and may even result in serious complications such as pneumonia and long-term lung injury and damage. 

This is where the importance of a nebulizer comes in. It is a piece of medical equipment that allows quicker dispersion and absorption of medication in the lungs through a mask or mouthpiece. 

Though nebulizers gained popularity during the pandemic, it is not a new invention. They have been around since the 1930s and have been used to ease patients suffering from a variety of conditions such as:

  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Asthma
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD)
  • Temporary instances of coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, etc.

Anyone including children, the elderly, and pregnant women can use a nebulizer machine either on their own or with assistance. 

With their increased use, nebulizer machine prices have also become quite affordable.

types of nebulizers 

To ensure that your medication is effectively delivered and to manage and maintain your condition, there are three main types of nebulizers 

Jet nebulizer

This is the most common type of nebulizer that makes converts the medication into tiny particles (aerosols) using compressed gas. Jet nebulizers are mostly used at home for personal use.

Ultrasonic nebulizer

In this type of nebulizer, the medication is converted into smaller particles or aerosols through high-frequency vibrations. Ultrasonic nebulizers are usually not for personal use and are mostly used in clinics and hospitals.

Mesh nebulizer

Mesh nebulizers are a newer version and are considered to be more effective than jet nebulizers. This type uses a mesh cap with minuscule holes that deliver the medicine directly to your lungs.

Usually, all the different types of nebulizers are available in battery-run or electric versions. The ones running on batteries are portable nebulizers and can be carried from one room to the other and used while you are travelling. 

how to use a nebulizer? 

One of the most important things to keep in mind before starting the use of a nebulizer is that you should use it only after a doctor’s prescription. Using it on your own may result in adverse effects on your health. 

Whatever be the condition, the breathing treatment received through a nebulizer will be effective only when you follow the correct procedure. 

Here is how to use a nebulizer properly:

  1. The first step is to get together all the parts of the nebulizer including the cap, cup, mask, air compressor, compressor tubing, and the medication.
  1. Wash your hands properly and pour the requisite amount of medicine in the cup.
  1. Put the compressor on a sturdy surface and plug it into an electrical socket. 
  1. Now attach the top cap to the medicine cap and then to the mouthpiece or the nebulizer mask.  
  1. Connect the compressor tube to the medicine cup.
  1. Sit in a comfortable position and put the mask or the mouthpiece and clench your lips tightly around it.
  1. Switch on the compressor. You should be able to see a light mist at the back of the tube.
  1. Start taking slow and deep breaths. For the treatment to be effective, hold each breath for 3-4 seconds. This allows the medicine to settle in your lungs.
  1. Continue till you use the entire dosage of the medicine. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind while using a nebulizer:

  1. If the treatment is being administered to a child, they can sit in your lap.
  2. In case you are using a mask, make sure that it fits snugly on your face.
  3. If anytime during the inhalation, you feel discomfort or dizziness, stop the treatment immediately. Take a break and resume after 5-10 minutes. You can try breathing more deliberately. In case you still feel discomfort, consult your doctor before using the nebulizer again. 

how to clean a nebulizer? 

Caring for your nebulizer is critical for preventing infections. Cleaning this equipment is pretty easy and can be done in no time. 

Here is how to keep your nebulizer free of dirt and bacteria:

  1. After every use rinse the nebuliser cup properly with warm water and let it air-dry.
  2. At the end of each day, your mask and cup must be washed with mild water mixed with a mild detergent. These should also be allowed to air-dry.
  3. Sterilize your nebulizer ideally once every week or at least once a week. You can use a white vinegar solution, hydrogen peroxide, or isopropyl alcohol for this. 
  4. Once you have cleaned the equipment thoroughly, cover it with a clean cloth to store it. Every part must be placed in zip locks and stored. Remember, it should never be placed in an open space or on the floor.
  5. Your medications must also be stored in a cool and dry place away from dust and light.
  6. Always keep an extra nebulizer cup and mask or mouthpiece. 
  7. Make sure you unplug the compressor before cleaning it.

Nebulizers have transformed the way patients with respiratory problems can manage and improve their condition. For your breathing treatment to be effective and to get the most out of it, make sure to follow all the instructions of your healthcare provider and the equipment manufacturer. 

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