Nebulizers are medical devices that turn liquid medications into a mist, which you then inhale. The instructions for many inhaled medications specify that they be used only with specific nebulizers. Always make sure you are using a nebulizer that the medication manufacturer has recommended.
It is important to always clean and disinfect your nebulizer, since you can breathe in germs through your nebulizer and risk developing a lung infection. Always make sure you are using a disinfecting method recommended by the equipment manufacturer.
People with cystic fibrosis should have their own nebulizer and perform respiratory treatments in separate rooms to avoid spreading germs to each other.
When Using a Reusable Nebulizer
After each use, clean and disinfect the nebulizer as soon as possible by following the CF Foundation's recommended nebulizer care.
- Clean the nebulizer parts with dish detergent soap and water.
- Air dry.
There are two disinfecting options: heat and cold.
- Place in boiling water and boil for 5 minutes.
- Place in a microwave-safe container submerged in water and microwave for 5 minutes.
- Use a dishwasher, if the water is 158 degrees or more, for 30 minutes.
- Use an electric steam sterilizer.
- Soak in 70% isopropyl alcohol for 5 minutes.
- Soak in 3% hydrogen peroxide for 30 minutes.
- Rinse off the cold-method disinfectant using sterile water, not tap water.
- Air-dry the nebulizer parts before storage.
Watch the webcast,”Nebulizer Care in the Home” below, to learn more about caring for your nebulizer.
When Using an Altera, eRapid™ or Other eFlow® Technology Nebulizer
After each use, rinse, clean, and disinfect the nebulizer by following the CF Foundation's recommended steps for nebulizer care.
In addition to following the cleaning and disinfecting instructions provided with your specific nebulizer, keep the following in mind when disinfecting an eFlow® technology nebulizer:
- Do not use antibacterial soap or white liquid dish soap, like Ivory®
- Do not place the aerosol head face down on the paper towel to avoid picking up fibers
- Do not use a microwave
If you are unsure about how to clean and disinfect your nebulizer, talk to a member of your care team.
To learn more about cleaning your Altera or eFlow nebulizer, watch the video below. (This video is also available in Spanish.)