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How to Use Only Water in My Nebulizer

Updated March 23, 2017

Nebulizers are often used by children and adults to treat asthma or other breathing conditions. This air machine converts liquid, such as asthma medicine, into a breathable fine mist. Instead of medicine, a saline water solution or water alone can be used to aid in breathing. A nebuliser is especially helpful for coughs because it helps moisten the nasal passages and penetrate the lungs to calm coughs. Inhaling mist from a nebuliser increases the effectiveness of the solution in it, even if it is just plain water.

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  1. Check that the nebuliser is clean and doesn't contain any medicine residue or other dirt. If it needs cleaning, take it apart and wash it with liquid soap and water. Shake off excess water and let dry completely before putting it back together. If the nebuliser does not need to be washed, sterilise the mouthpiece only by cleaning it with cotton balls or a paper towel dipped in 94 per cent alcohol. Reattach the mouthpiece once cleaned.

  2. Place the nebuliser on a clean, solid table. Plug it into an electrical socket.

  3. Fill the nebuliser with tap or bottled water where indicated. Be careful not to overfill. There will be a level-line indicator on the nebuliser and water should be filled up to that level. Skip any additional steps as directed by the nebuliser instructions pertaining to filling the nebulizer's cup with medicine. In this case, you will only be using water.

  4. Turn on the nebuliser and check if mist comes out from the mouthpiece. Turn the nebuliser off.

  5. Take the mouthpiece and place it in or around your mouth, depending on what kind of mouthpiece your nebuliser comes with. Some nebulizers have a mouthpiece, while others have a strap to place around the head for comfort. Close your mouth.

  6. Turn on the nebuliser. The nebuliser needs to stay level on the table or flat surface. Breathe in deeply and exhale slowly through the nose. Keep your mouth closed. Continue breathing in and out slowly for several minutes. Deep breaths will shorten the time the nebuliser has to be used. You do not need to keep the nebuliser on until the water is gone. Keep on breathing until you feel better or want to take a break.

  7. Turn the nebuliser off when finished and unplug. Remove mouthpiece, and dry mouth with tissues. Remove any excess water and clean the pieces of the nebuliser with soap and water.

  8. Tip

    Talk to your doctor about using just water in the nebuliser if unsure of the effect it will have on you. Water mist is safe for mostly everyone. According to nebuliser users, using just water helps with lung diseases, asthma and even allergies in both adults and children.

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Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Tissues
  • Liquid soap

About the Author

Aleksandra Ozimek

Aleksandra Ozimek has been writing professionally since 2007 for a fashion blog, various online media and the "Queens Courier," in addition to interning at "Cosmopolitan" magazine. She completed her Bachelor of Science in journalism and photography from St. John's University, where she is completing her master's degree.

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