• What is a nebulizer?

    A nebulizer is a device for breathing treatments to help you breathe better. It changes liquid medicine into a very fine mist. The mist goes into your airways and lungs when you breathe in. Nebulizer treatments may be given to infants, children, and adults. You may receive nebulizer treatments when you are in the hospital.


    Follow these steps to use a nebulizer:

    1. Wash your hands thoroughly before you use a nebulizer and make sure the equipment is clean.

    2. If using a multi-dose bottle of medicine when you use a nebulizer, use a dropper to administer the correct dosage of medication into the cup with saline solution.  If the medicine is in single-use vials, twist the top off the plastic vial and squeeze the contents into the nebulizer cup.

    3. Connect the mouthpiece to the T-shaped elbow.  Fasten the unit to the cup.  For children older than 2, using a mouthpiece is recommended because it will deliver more medication than a mask.

    4. Connect the nebulizer tubing to the port on the compressor.

    5. Turn the compressor on and check the nebulizer for misting.  When using a finger valve, cover the air hole to force air into the nebulizer.  If you are not using a finger valve, the nebulizer will mist continually.

    6. When you use a nebulizer, sit in a comfortable, upright position.  Place the mouthpiece between your teeth and close your lips around it.  When using a mask, be sure it fits well so the mist doesn’t get into your eyes.

    7. Gently exhale. As the mist starts, inhale slowly through your mouth.  Take over three to five seconds for each breath while keeping your finger over the valve hole.

    8. Hold your breath for up to 10 seconds before exhaling. This allows the medication time to deposit in the airway.

    9. At the end of a deep breath, uncover the finger valve hole to stop the mist.

    10. Continue until the medicine is gone from the cup.  The nebulizer will most likely begin sputtering when it is empty.

    Follow these tips before and after you use a nebulizer:

    • After you use a nebulizer, clean it according to instructions.  Neglecting to do so will promote bacteria growth.

    • Store your nebulizer and supplies in a clean, dry, and dust-free location.

    • Dispose of nebulizer tubing that becomes cloudy or retains moisture.

    • Replace disposable parts, tubing, and filters according to manufacturer’s instructions.  Using a nebulizer cup longer than indicated will result in slower, less efficient delivery of medication.

    • When you use a nebulizer, always use a mask or mouthpiece when giving or taking a treatment.

    • If treating infants and toddlers, purchase supplies that can be used when the child is in a reclined position or sleeping.

    • Keep nebulizer batteries charged or have replacement batteries handy.


    Click on the links below to view a clip showing how to use a nebulizer



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