Using A Nebulizer: Mouthpiece Or Mask?
Last updated: November 2022
Last fall, we took a quick weekend trip to see grandma. My daughter had a cold but didn't seem too sick. She used her inhaler before we left on the 4-hour drive to grandmas. She's a teenager now and has had asthma since birth, and she usually knows how to handle it herself.
Once we were there and enjoying the sun on the patio, I noticed she was having a hard time breathing. She said she felt like her inhaler just wasn't helping. It must have been a combination of a cold and a drastic change in elevation.
It was then I realized that we didn't pack the nebulizer. I know, I know... Mom Fail.
Stopping for a nebulizer
So, being the Mean Mom that I am, I dragged her to the Instacare, I was hoping they would have a nebulizer there that we could use. Fingers crossed. I did not want to have to go to the emergency room.
My daughter did NOT want to go, and she let me know that - in no uncertain terms. Teenagers can be sooooo much fun!
The doctor at instacare could tell my daughter needed a breathing treatment with the nebulizer. I sheepishly told her that we forgot to pack it. She assured me that I wasn't a horrible mom.
Relief came through a mouthpiece
The doctor came back into the room with the nebulizer and a mouthpiece. My daughter looked at me with one of those Are - You - Kidding - Me faces. She HATES the mouthpiece.
For those of you who have used a nebulizer, you know that when you use a mouthpiece, you can usually taste the salty medicine. And what happens when you have salty medicine going into your mouth? You start drooling. Or as the instacare doctor called my daughter, a "Dripper".
My daughter wrapped tissues around the medicine cup and mouthpiece so when she dripped (or drooled), it would run down into the tissues.
My daughter really prefers to use a mask with the nebulizer. But, it was late at night and the instacare doc was running from one room to the next and we didn't want to sound too demanding. "Yeah, thanks for finding a nebulizer... but you don't happen to have a mask for it do you?"
So, how do you decide if you should use a mask or a mouthpiece for the nebulizer?
Mask or mouthpiece for asthma nebulizer treatment?
If you are new to nebulizers, National Jewish has a video that shows how to use a nebulizer with a mouthpiece. This one shows how to use a nebulizer with a mask.
If you choose to use a mask, they have cute masks for kids that are shaped like a dinosaur head or a fish head. My kids loved those when they were little! The nebulizer didn't seem so scary.
Talk to your doctor and see what's right for you. Asthma is a very individual disease. What may bother one person and trigger an asthma attack won't bother someone else. One person takes a certain asthma medicine and loves it, and someone else may feel that it doesn't work for them.
Just know that there are a lot of options for different asthma medicines, and different ways to take them. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to asthma.
So, what do you prefer, a mouthpiece or mask?
How often do you find time to focus on yourself?
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