Nebulizers: What You Should Know

A woman using a nebulizer.Over 34 million people throughout the United States live with a chronic lung disease such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). Any type of lung disease can have a significant detrimental impact on your quality of life without effective treatment to manage it. One of these treatments is the usage of nebulizers, which turn liquid medicine into a mist that can be easily inhaled.

While they function in a similar way, nebulizers are not the same thing as inhalers. An inhaler delivers medication more quickly, is often smaller and more portable, often costs less, and usually causes fewer side effects. However, they are not as easy to use properly as nebulizers, which allow you to breathe normally to get the dose of medicine you need.

You may need a nebulizer if you plan to take certain types of medication, such as bronchodilators (which relax your airway muscles) or corticosteroids (which prevent airway inflammation). Nebulizers can also be used with some antibiotics (if you have a bacterial lung infection) or medications that loosen mucus in your lungs.

Before using your nebulizer, it’s important to make sure you’re setting it up correctly. You should:

  • Read the manufacturer’s instructions for setting up and using your nebulizer, which should be included
  • Wash your hands
  • Fill the medicine cup and close it tightly
  • Make sure the hose is connected to the air compressor, mouthpiece, and medicine cup
  • Plug in and turn on the nebulizer

While using the nebulizer, you should:

  • Keep your lips firmly around the mouthpiece
  • Breathe through your mouth until the medicine cup is empty (this can take up to 20 minutes)

It’s also important to make sure you’re keeping your nebulizer sanitary for future use. Each time you finish using it, you should:

  • Turn off and unplug the machine
  • Wash the mouthpiece and medicine cup under warm, running water
  • Air dry the nebulizer and run air through it for at least 20 seconds to ensure all parts of it are dry
  • Remove all detachable parts (such as the mouthpiece and medicine cup) and store the nebulizer in a covered place until the next time you use it
  • Change the machine’s filter as needed (see the instructions that came with your nebulizer)

If you experience symptoms of asthma or another type of lung disease, you can receive high-quality treatment from Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Division of Pulmonary Medicine. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, please call (718) 206-7126.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

November is COPD Awareness Month – Know Your COPD Facts

November is National COPD Awareness Month. This observance is an opportunity for everyone across the country to increase their overall awareness of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

ThinkstockPhotos-522695539COPD is a form of lung disease that makes breathing difficult. It is caused by damage to the lungs over a prolonged period of time and is usually attributed to smoking. COPD can result in serious, long term disability and is the third leading cause of death in the United States. It kills more than 120,000 Americans each year – that’s one death every four seconds and that number is increasing every year.

The most common symptoms of COPD include shortness of breath, chronic cough, and difficulty performing simple daily tasks, such as climbing stairs.

Those most at risk of developing COPD are individuals who:
• Are over age 40 and currently smoke or smoked at some point
• Worked or lived around chemicals or fumes
• Have certain genetic conditions

If you think you have COPD, you should:
• Talk with your healthcare provider about your symptoms
• Request a breathing test, known as a spirometry
• Quit smoking! If you need help, ask your doctor
• Avoid pollutants or fumes that can irritate your lungs

While you can’t undo the damage COPD has caused to your lungs, there are steps you can take to prevent the condition from getting worse, such as:
• Taking medications as directed by your doctor
• Enrolling in a pulmonary rehabilitation program
• Avoiding factors that can irritate your lungs
• Receiving annual flu and pneumonia vaccines

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Pulmonary Rehab For COPD

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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a general term that describes progressive respiratory diseases including emphysema and chronic bronchitis. COPD is characterized by decreased airflow over time and increased inflammation of the lungs.

A decrease in airflow often results in shortness of breath, which at times makes performing minimal physical activities difficult. One of the most recommended forms of treatments used to improve this issue is pulmonary rehabilitation for COPD.  A respiratory therapist can assess the severity of a patient’s condition before enrollment into a program by administering tests such as a pulmonary function test.

This form of treatment involves a series of exercises that teaches people breathing techniques that help them build physical fitness and lung strength.

Most pulmonary rehab programs include:

  • Exercise-This is one of the key components in pulmonary rehab. Patients are required to do a series of physical activities such as:
  1. Exercises to strengthen and improve breathing muscles
  2. Upper body exercises
  3. Lower body exercises
  4. Strength training
  • Smoking cessation- In order to improve quality of life and lung function, smoking cessation is often a goal or prerequisite in pulmonary rehab. Quitting is the most important thing a smoker can do to slow the progression of COPD.
  • Education-Programs offer education in either a group setting or on an individual basis. Education sessions are designed to teach people ways to manage their COPD or include lessons on understanding medication as well as using oxygen therapy.

Patients who participate in pulmonary rehab programs gain several benefits. Most see significant improvement in their breathing. It is suggested that participants continue the exercises even after completing a program by incorporating them into their daily life. Those who do not may experience a decline in its benefits.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.