Home Nebulizers for Asthma Control

This portable breathing machine turns your medication into a liquid mist that you can inhale right into your lungs for the fastest results. But while it makes treating your symptoms easier, some medical experts caution that you shouldn’t rely on your nebulizer as a replacement for receiving essential medical care in a true emergency situation.

Relief at Your Fingertips

If you have difficulty using your metered dose asthma inhaler properly, or are caring for an infant or small child who needs an easier-to-use form of relief for asthma symptoms, your doctor may prescribe a portable nebulizer you can use right at home. In many cases, this can offer a convenient way to treat frequent mild asthma attacks in your own setting without having to go to your physician’s office or the emergency room when your condition flares up.

The nebulizer device will typically come from a medical supply company and is relatively inexpensive (about $250 or less and insurance will sometimes cover a portion of the expense). It is also very simple to work, once you get the hang of it.
The system usually comes with several important components, which include:

  • An air compressor and tubes

  • Nebulizer cup to hold the medication

  • Mouthpiece (or mask for young children)

  • Vials or bottles that contain a liquid version of your fast-acting inhaler medication

How it Works

Here’s how to put it all together to get the relief you need to open up your lungs fast.

  • Use a sturdy table to hold the air compressor and plug in this device.

  • Use the premeasured vial of medication (or measure out the prescribed treatment amount if you have a larger supply in a bottle) and place it in the nebulizer cup as directed.

  • Assemble the cup and attach the mouthpiece (or mask).

  • Attach the compressor and cup together with the tubes provided.

  • Turn on the machine and expect a fine mist to through from the tube if everything is connected correctly.

  • Sit in a chair and place the mouthpiece between your teeth and lips.

  • Breathe in slowly, feeling the medication seeping into your lungs. Wait a few seconds before exhaling.
  • Expect it to take about 10 minutes to complete one treatment.

  • Rinse the cup, mask or mouthpiece with warm water after each use and allow to dry before storing the pieces.

A Word of Warning

While home nebulizers can be an effective way to head off a serious asthma attack, some experts have serious concerns that patients may be using these devices inappropriately and foregoing seeking important medical care even when it is clearly needed. A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan discovered that some patients are using nebulizers to treat asthma symptoms as needed instead of using their inhaled steroids to head off the problems in the first place. In addition, the results revealed that in a severe asthma situation, some people tried to self-treat, rather than going to the Emergency Room, where they could have been closely monitored and received other necessary treatment. This means that while home nebulizers are a helpful tool in treating your asthma, it must be part of a broader asthma management plan that includes preventative and emergency care.