If you suffer from a disease that affects breathing, such as pneumonia, asthma, an airway infection or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, you may need to use an aerosol therapy device. This is a battery-operated device that can be connected to an electrical outlet. It is able to transform a liquid drug into a fine “mist” that is inhaled from the lungs through a mouthpiece or a mask; this medicinal fog helps the patient to breathe.
Prepare for use
1) Wash your hands.
Start by washing for 20 seconds using running water and soap. Rinse and dry with a paper towel; close the tap always using the sheet of paper.
2) Put the drug in the device.
Unscrew the ampoule of the device and pour the prescribed medicine into it. Many types of drugs for aerosol therapy are sold in pre-dosed bottles; if not, measure the exact amount of product you need to use for a treatment. Carefully tighten the cap to avoid overturning the medicine. Do not forget to connect the electric compressor to the power outlet, in case the device is not powered by a battery.
The drugs that are administered in this way are beta 2 selective agonists, anticholinergics, inhaled glucocorticoids and antibiotics. There are other inhalation medicines that are not used to treat respiratory diseases, but not all drugs can be nebulized.
Pneumatic devices are the most common. The most modern devices are built to release all the medicine during inhalation; the performance of these devices depends on the method by which the product is sprayed, by the aerosol formation mechanism and by the composition of the drug. If you need instructions on how to use the instrument in your possession, talk to your doctor or respiratory failure rehabilitator. March 6 — 2018
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3) Connect the mouthpiece.
Fix it to the ampoule of the device. Although the various manufacturers offer slightly different pneumatic models, in most cases the mouthpiece must be fixed above the bulb; in general, the appliances are equipped with this accessory, since the masks can leave medicine deposits on the face.
4) Join the tube.
Connect one end to the ampoule. On almost all devices, the tube attaches to the base of the ampoule while the other end is inserted into the compressor that supplies the air to nebulise the drug.
Use the appliance
5) Turn on the compressor and use the device.
Put the mouthpiece in the mouth, over the tongue, and keep the lips well attached to the same; inhale slowly and deeply through the mouth to bring all the active ingredients into the lungs and exhale through the mouth or nose. Adult people can keep their noses close to make sure that all the drug is inhaled from the mouth.
Consider using an aerosol mask as an alternative to treat small children or people who are too sick to use the mouthpiece for therapy. The masks are fixed to the top of the ampoule and are available both in pediatric and adult.
6) Continue to inhale the medicine.
Sit with your back straight and inhale the drug until the mist is no longer formed; in general, it takes 10-15 minutes. Once all the liquid has been used, the nebulization process stops and the bulb should be empty at this point; in the meantime, distract yourself by watching TV or listening to music.
Organize an activity that keeps young children busy during therapy. The puzzles, books and colouring books help the child to stay still for the duration of the treatment; in theory, you should keep it in your arms, as it should stay upright to receive the optimal dose of medication.
7) Switch off and clean the appliance.
Make sure to unplug from the socket, remove the bulb and the nozzle from the tube. Wash the two accessories with hot soapy water and rinse them carefully; put the instrumentation on a clean cloth to make it air dry. Remember to proceed with this cleaning after each treatment and daily.
Do not wash the tube. If it gets wet, replace it; moreover, it avoids putting the elements of the appliance in the dishwasher, because the heat can deform the plastic parts.
8) Disinfect the instrument once a week.
To do this, follow the manufacturer’s instructions; put all the parts (except the tube) to soak for one hour in a solution composed of one part of distilled vinegar and three of very hot water. Throw the solution, rinse the elements (except the tube) with cold water and let them air dry over a clean cloth. Once all the components are dry, place them in a clean part of the container.
For hygiene reasons, do not share items despite being washed, if more than one person uses the appliance; every individual should have his own device.