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Understanding Nebulisers and Safety Tips for use

Several types of devices are used to deliver medicine in a fine mist directly into the lungs. These devices like Nebulisers are one of the treatment strategies considered for some lung patients to avoid side effects of medications.


WHAT IS A NEBULIZER?

  • A nebuliser is a machine that turns liquid medicine into a fine mist. The compressor forces air through the liquid medicine that sits in the chamber. The mist is breathed in through the facemask or mouthpiece, through the connecting tube.



WHAT IS A NEBULIZER USED FOR?

A nebulizer may be used to inhale medication to clear your airways or to treat infections:

  • in an emergency, if you are struggling to breathe and need a high dose of your reliever medicine - paramedics or hospital staff may give you reliver medicine through a nebuliser.

  • at home if your condition is very severe, and you are unable to use an inhaler or inhalers are not as effective as nebulised medicine.


WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM NEBULIZATION?

  • Not all lung conditions require treatment by nebuliser.

  • As part of your treatment for your lung condition, you might be given medications delivered by a nebuliser.

  • Nebulisers are used to deliver medications to manage the build-up of mucus and other symptoms if you have cystic fibrosis.

  • If you have asthma, using a reliever inhaler with a spacer is easier and just as effective.


WHAT MEDICATIONS ARE DELIVERED BY NEBULISERS?

A number of different medications can be given using a nebuliser, including:

  • Bronchodilators - drugs that open up your airways

  • Hypertonic saline solutions (medical grade saltwater solutions) - these loosen mucus in your airways and make it easier to cough up.

  • Respiratory teams will test this before prescribing it as a treatment method

  • Antibiotics to treat and prevent infections.


TOP TIPS FOR USING YOUR NEBULISER SAFELY

  • As with all electrical equipment, your nebuliser machine must not come in contact with water or other liquid while connected to the mains electricity.

  • Don’t use or store your nebuliser in a room that’s very dusty or very smoky.

  • When using the nebuliser, place it on a clean, flat table surface – don’t use it on a carpet or rug, as fibres could be drawn into the nebuliser while you’re using it.

  • Keep all parts of your nebuliser (including the tubing) away from children and pets.

  • Don’t try and modify your nebuliser and don’t cover the air intake grills on the nebuliser machine.

  • If your machine has a filter in it, make sure you know how to change it and howfrequently it should be changed.

  • Ask your health care professional for more information or if you’re not sure.


CLEANING YOUR NEBULISER

All nebulisers need to be maintained and cleaned.

If you buy your own nebuliser, get advice from your hospital or the manufacturer about maintenance and cleaning before you buy it.

Wash your nebuliser after each use by:

- washing your hands

-disconnecting the mask, mouthpiece and chamber

-washing the individual parts in warm soapy water and rinsing with clean water

-shaking off excess water and leaving the parts to air dry on a clean tissue or kitchen paper towel.

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