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Helping Your Child Use a Nebulizer

Help your child get the most out of their asthma treating nebulizer. These simple guidelines show you how.

Using a Nebulizer: Getting Started continued...

After you’ve gathered your materials, put the air compressor unit on a steady surface and plug it in. Next, you and your child should both wash your hands thoroughly before starting to use the nebulizer.

Here are the steps you’ll need to help your child begin using the nebulizer:

  • Measure the asthma medications the way your doctor or pharmacists instructed.
  • Place them in the nebulizer cup.
  • Attach the cup to the mask mouthpiece.
  • Now, use the tubing to connect the air compressor and the nebulizer cup.
  • Before you put the mask on your child, switch the compressor on. Check to make sure it is functioning properly. If you see a mist coming through the tube to the mouthpiece, the machine is working.
  • Have your child sit in a chair or on your lap, wherever he or she will be most comfortable.
  • Gently place the mask over his or her face, or if you are using a mouthpiece, insert it between your child’s teeth. Make sure your child’s lips are closed around the mouthpiece. This will create a seal.

Now your child is getting the allergic asthma treatment he or she needs.

Using a Nebulizer With a Mask

If your child is not old enough to use a mouthpiece correctly, you will need to use a mask with the nebulizer. The mask ensures the asthma medication is delivered properly. You may not like the idea of putting a mask over your baby’s nose and mouth, but remind yourself how important it is to use a nebulizer correctly. It’s the only way to make sure the asthma medicine your child needs goes directly to the lungs.

Some babies are upset or scared by the nebulizer. Because of this, some parents are tempted to point the mist at the baby’s face while the baby sleeps. What they want to do is deliver the asthma treatment in way that would be undetected. But this method, called “blow-by treatment,” is highly ineffective. It will not deliver the asthma medication to your baby’s lungs.

For children of all ages, a close-fitting mask will make the difference between a nebulizer treatment that works and one that does not. If the mask is just a mere half-inch away from the nose and mouth, 50% of the medicine will not make its way to the lungs. If the mask is an inch away from the face, 80% of the medicine won’t reach the lungs.

What to Do During a Nebulizer Treatment

A nebulizer treatment can take between 15 and 20 minutes. It will be easier for your child to sit still for the treatment if your child has something else to focus on. For instance, you might try reading to your child while the asthma treatment is going on.

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