Tips For Maintaining And Caring For Your Nebulizer
A nebulizer turns medication from a liquid to a mist for the patient to inhale directly into the lungs. A portable nebulizer runs on batteries or can be plugged into a car outlet. You can easily carry them in a bag or a briefcase.
Owning a nebulizer requires you to have a doctor’s prescription, or you can directly get it from your pediatrician’s office. People often get breathing treatment at their doctor’s office as well.
Types of Nebulizers
Jet nebulizers make use of compressed gas for making an aerosol, i.e. tiny particles of medication in the air.
Ultrasonic nebulizers make an aerosol using high-frequency vibrations; the particles are larger compared to the jet nebulizer.
Mesh nebulizers form the aerosol by passing the liquid through a very fine mesh. These nebulizers have the smallest particles of all, and it also is the most expensive of them all.
Now let us have a look at how to clean and care for your portable nebulizers while you use them.
Nebulizers come in handy for people with breathing challenges. However, like all other medical supplies, even portable nebulizers need good cleaning and maintenance to work at their optimum. Here are some compelling ways to care for your nebulizer.
Why is it required to keep it clean?
Before you get into a routine of cleaning your nebulizers, you must first understand why it is crucial. You need to keep it clean for it to work correctly and at its best. Without periodic cleaning and proper maintenance, the jet holes or mesh holes in the nebulizer are likely to get clogged, leading to a reduction in the amount of medicine being released. Improper cleaning routine also gives rise to bacterial growth in the nebulizers.
Daily cleaning steps
Make sure your nebulizers maintain peak performance with these basic cleaning steps after each use, followed by some intense cleaning once a week or so.
- If you have a jet nebulizer, rinse the nebulizer cup entirely with warm water, throw off excess water and let it air-dry, do this after each treatment. Wash the cup and mask or mouthpiece in warm water with a mild detergent almost on a daily basis. Rinse entirely and leave it to air-dry. There is no need to clean the compressor tubing.
- If you have a mesh nebulizer, you will have to pour out leftover medicine and segregate the mouthpiece from the handset. Make routine cleaning a practice, wash in a bowl of warm water and liquid dish soap, rinse and let it air-dry. Avoid rinsing the handset.
Weekly cleaning steps
Apart from the daily cleaning, you will also have to disinfect your nebulizer every week.
- For a mesh nebulizer, first, start with boiling the mouthpiece for 10 minutes or so. While doing so, make sure that the medication chamber is open, and the mouthpiece is not touching the bottom of the pan. Later, leave it to air-dry. Also, wipe the handset with a clean damp cloth during weekly cleaning.
- For a jet nebulizer, boil the parts of the nebulizer in soapy water except for the tubing or mask for about 10 minutes. Later, rinse under running water for 2 minutes and leave it to air-dry.
Some experts even recommend soaking the nebulizer cup and mask or mouthpiece in a solution of vinegar and water thrice a week. However, the best way to conclude best practice for yourself is to talk to your doctor, follow their advice and read the recommendations that come with the nebulizers; this will ensure you are following all the guidelines closely.
It is also important to understand how to maintain nebulizers when you are not using them.
- After complete rinsing and drying, wipe the compressor with a clean and damp cloth and cover it with a clean cloth.
- Avoid keeping the compressor on the floor, whether it be for treatment or storage.
- Store your medication in dry places and cool areas with no harsh heat exposure. Some medicines are required to be kept in the refrigerator, while others work fine by just being kept out of the light. However, you must check them often to see if they changed colour or formed crystals; in that case, throw them away and replace them.