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Nebulizer

        Health | Asthma

The instructions on this page are for general information only. Always follow the directions that come with the specific inhaler you use. Your doctor should teach you how to use the inhaler correctly.

How to use a nebulizer for asthma:

  1. Sit in a chair or on a bed.
  2. Write down the start and stop time (approximately 15 to 20 minutes is needed per session). If interrupted, turn the nebulizer off so you don't waste the medication.
  3. Measure the prescribed amount of the medicine and any additional solution as prescribed by your doctor, and place both in the nebulizer chamber.
  4. Hold the nebulizer upright and the mouthpiece near the mouth.
  5. Turn on the machine and check that a fine mist is coming out.
  6. Place the mouthpiece in your mouth, making a tight seal with your lips.
  7. It is important to take slow deep breaths, and each breath should be held for 5 to 10 seconds and exhaled slowly.
  8. Continue until the medication chamber is empty, which usually takes about 10 minutes.

Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Nebulizer:

After each use:

  • Take your nebulizer apart and rinse all the parts in warm water.
  • Shake out excess water.
  • Let your nebulizer air-dry on a clean, dry surface, such as a paper towel.
  • When dry, reassemble and store your nebulizer in a clean plastic bag to keep dust out.

Twice a week:

  • Take your nebulizer apart and soak all the parts, including the tubes, for 20 to 30 minutes in warm water with liquid dish detergent.
  • Scrub all the parts with a soft scrub brush.
  • Rinse well with warm water.
  • Soak for 30 minutes in a cleaning solution made up of one part distilled vinegar to two parts water. Throw out solution after each use; do not reuse.
  • Rinse well with warm water.
  • Let your nebulizer air-dry on a clean, dry surface, such as a paper towel.
  • When dry, reassemble and store your nebulizer in a clean plastic bag to keep dust out.

Written by Karen Serrano, MD

Emergency Medicine resident at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Reviewed by Lisa V. Suffian, MD

Instructor of Clinical Pediatrics in the Division of Allergy and Pulmonary Medicine at Saint Louis Children's Hospital, Washington University School of Medicine

Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital, Saint Louis University

Board certified in Allergy and Immunology

Last updated June 2008


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