Learn How To Use Your Nebulizer

When my kids were first diagnosed with asthma 16 years ago, we had to learn everything about asthma. There are medications, terminology and equipment. One of the things that was most important for us was learning how to use our nebulizer.

A nebulizer is a compressor that turns liquid medicine into a mist so it’s easier to breathe in. When my kids were little, or really sick (like when they had pneumonia), we used a nebulizer to do breathing treatments.

At first, the doctor would just do a breathing treatment at his office. He soon realized that it would be best for us to have our own nebulizer at home so we could treat our kids there.

Our insurance company paid for our nebulizer and the tubing kits. The home health care guy came to our house after my son’s first hospitalization to deliver the nebulizer and show us how to use it.

I wasn’t sure if I would ever feel comfortable with it. So, I practiced putting the canister together and taking it apart over and over again. If one of my kids was really sick, I had to be able to act fast to put it together. Hubby and I got to be pretty good at putting it together quickly – morning, noon and night. Many times, we would be stumbling through the house in the middle of the night to grab the nebulizer, put it together, then take it back to our son or daughter’s bedroom and give them a breathing treatment while they slept.

That’s what I like most about nebulizers, I feel that they work better than my inhaler (especially when I have pneumonia or bronchitis or a very bad asthma attack.) And I like that I can give my kids a breathing treatment while they sleep. When they are really sick, they are sometimes too weak to sit up and try to use their inhaler.

If you have a nebulizer, practice putting it together over and over again until you feel comfortable using it.

Fast forward 16 years, and we are still using that same nebulizer. Last week, my daughter was sick and coughing during the night. She didn’t realize she was coughing and was sleeping through it. But it woke me up - so I staggered down the hall, grabbed the machine and easily put it together from the moonlight streaming through the blinds. And I wasn’t wearing my glasses. I laughed as I realized how routine this had become for us. I plugged in the nebulizer near my daughter and started a breathing treatment.

Now….am I recommending you use your nebulizer in the dark without glasses on? No. But practice using it enough that you can safely and quickly put it together to give a breathing treatment to your child. They will be scared, and you need to keep your wits about you. Part of that can be knowing how to use your nebulizer well enough that it won’t be another stress during a scary time.

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