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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.

What to Do During a Nebulizer Treatment continued...

While the nebulizer is delivering the medication, encourage your child to breathe slowly and deeply. Urge your child to try to hold each breath in for a couple of seconds before exhaling. If this makes your child nervous, explain that the asthma medication will work better if it sits in the lungs before it’s blown out. To help, you can hold your breath with your child or count out loud to provide support.

Have your child watch with you to make sure the mist disappears with each breath. This is a sure sign that the medication is getting where it’s supposed to be.

Continue using the nebulizer until all the asthma medication has been delivered. When it has been, the machine will sputter.

An older child might feel confident about doing the nebulizer treatment on his or her own. But it’s important for you to stay with your child throughout the entire treatment.

Sometimes, children may experience unpleasant side effects during this asthma treatment. These may be caused by hyperventilation or shallow breathing. This could happen especially if your child is nervous. Or the side effects could be caused by the asthma medication.

If your child feels dizzy, vomits, or has a coughing fit while the nebulizer is being used, take a five-minute break. Let your child relax and breathe normally. Then, resume treatment until all the asthma medication has been delivered.

Using a Nebulizer: Tips to Help Your Child Relax

It’s very important for your child’s emotional and physical health to make their allergic asthma treatment as pleasant as possible. For instance, you don’t want your child to be scared by the machine every day or start to dread the process. Also, when children cry, they breathe very shallowly. This prevents the asthma medication from reaching their lungs.

The following tips may help your child relax during nebulizer treatment:

  • Use the nebulizer at the same time and in the same place every day. Then it will become a regular part of your child’s routine.
  • Make a game out of using the nebulizer. You can help your child pretend to be an astronaut, for instance. You can also purchase special nebulizer masks for children that come in fun shapes and colors.
  • Make the nebulizer machine more child-friendly by encouraging your child to decorate it.
  • Try watching a movie during their asthma treatment.
  • If your child is older, he or she may like taking some of the responsibility for the nebulizer treatment. Allow your child to help you put the mask on and turn the machine on and off.
  • Be sure to give your child a lot of positive reinforcement for cooperating during nebulizer treatment.

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