We often get asked “Just what is a nebuliser?”, What exactly does it do?”, "What’s this bit I’ve found in my box”, “ Which is the.........” For those of you who are probably a million times more familiar with the world of nebulisers I apologise but please feel free to call if you have any useful hints or tips to add. For those of you new to nebulisers, this is just a simple general guide not a definitive article as your healthcare professional will be able to advise you more fully and on a more personal level.
The compressor itself
It's simple machine with its mains electrical lead, which should be fitted securely in its port and the unit placed in a stable area away from water or liquids before switching on. A quick wipe clean with a slightly damp cloth is all the compressor needs.
The compressor works by sucking in air, compressing it and then using this power to turn your prescribed medication into a mist. The micron size of most of this mist has to be small enough to reach your lower airways.
This is here to protect your lungs and the compressor from any dust and other particles floating around in the air. This is where all the air to be compressed is sucked in and over time it gets clogged and blocked when not changed regularly. This can put an unnecessary strain on your compressors motor and can result in a drop in pressure.
Change each filter as per manufactures instruction.
A drive line or air tube
This is mostly opaque or clear between 1 and 2 meters in length with connectors moulded at either end which connect your unit to the nebuliser chamber. Change your drive line according to manufacturers instructions, and we often recommend you try to always connect the same end to the unit. This should help reduce wear and tear.
The nebuliser chamber.
Sometimes known as medication chamber, acorn or cup. It comes in many different shapes and sizes but generally functions in a similar way. It has three parts: the bottom where you connect the drive line and the top where you connect the mask or mouthpiece. The third and most important piece, the ‘baffle’,‘mushroom’, ‘umbrella’ or ‘vaporiser head’, it has many names and must always sit in the bottom of the nebuliser chamber. Without this small item your unit will not work and your medication will not turn into a mist.
Some nebuliser chambers are disposable and need changing after a couple of months or so, others can be boiled like an egg in a pan. All need rinsing after each use and must be left to ‘air’ dry. Avoid using towels or tissues. Your manufactures guidelines will explain which chamber you have and how often it should be changed.