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Your Child's Asthma: Using a Nebulizer

A nebulizer is a device that delivers medication directly to the lungs. It turns medicine into a fine mist. Your child breathes the mist in through a mask or a mouthpiece. To help your child use his or her nebulizer, follow the steps below.

Child with mask

With a mask

  • Put the correct dose of medicine in the cup.

  • Connect one end of the tubing to the cup and the other end to the nebulizer.

  • Attach the mask to the cup.

  • Place the mask over your nose and mouth. Make sure it fits securely and comfortably.

  • Turn on the nebulizer.

  • Have your child take slow, deep breaths until all the medicine is gone. This takes 10 to 15 minutes.

     

Child with mouthpiece

With a mouthpiece

  • Put the correct dose of medicine in the cup.

  • Connect one end of the tubing to the cup and the other end to the nebulizer.

  • Attach the mouthpiece to the cup.

  • Have your child put the mouthpiece between his or her teeth and close his or her lips around it. The tongue should be below the mouthpiece.

  • Turn on the nebulizer.

  • Have your child take slow, deep breaths through the mouthpiece until all the medicine is gone. This takes 10 to 15 minutes.

Be sure to follow the instructions for cleaning the nebulizer and the mouthpiece. If you have any questions about using the nebulizer, ask your child's health care provider or nurse, your pharmacist, or someone from the manufacturer or local medical supply company.

Hints for using a nebulizer

Work with your child to make using a nebulizer as pleasant and as comfortable as possible. Depending on your child's age, you should: 

  • For infants. Try to schedule treatments after meals, before naps, or at bedtime. If the noise bothers your infant, use longer tubing so the nebulizer is further away. Or place the nebulizer on a towel or rug. Avoid using the mask strap. Instead, hold the mask in place.

  • For toddlers. Tell your toddler it is about time for a treatment a few minutes before. Set up an area with special activities or toys that are just for nebulizer treatments. Let your child put a used mask on a favorite doll or stuffed animal. After the treatment, reward your child with your words or something he or she enjoys. Try to make the nebulizer treatment time as calm and unemotional as possible.

As your child gets a little older:

  • Explain the reasons for the treatments.

  • Try to let him or her be more independent.

  • Talk with his or her provider about using an inhaler with a spacer instead of a nebulizer.

 

 

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