brittle asthma and nebulisers - Asthma UK communi...

Asthma UK community forum
13,252 members18,862 posts

brittle asthma and nebulisers

HiI have type 2 brittle asthma. It is usually very well controlled but I have had several very bad attacks in the last couple of months involving paramedics, A+E, overnight stays in hosp and one longer stay.When I was at the chest clinic last week the doctor asked me to think about having a home nebuliser. I know they are very useful for lots of people but I am worried that with brittle asthma I will spend time setting up a nebuliser when I should be calling for help. I can go from normal peak flow to almost unconsious in 5 to 10 mins.Is ther anyone out there with brittle asthma who has experience of a home nebuliser and did it help?

18 Replies

Home nebulisers can help sometimes i need someone there to load it for me. There is a disagreement within the medical field though as too whether they should be used at home or not. Some dr's feel people with nebulisers at home may rely on them too much and therefore not get medical help when they need it. Allowing the situation to get worse. If you have one you need a protocol as too when you use it and when you call green men!


Hi Molly,

I agree with Bowmei, home nebs can be useful but must be used as directed in a protocol.

For me, having a home neb means that i can stay at home when ill as long as i call those lovely green men if i need to neb more than evey hour and a half on a regular basis.

I would suggest discussing the matter further with your gp/cons and if you feel comfortable with the idea then try it for a few months and see how it goes.

I tend to keep my neb pre- loaded so that i am not faffing round trying to set it up when in need.


Hi Molly

I have a home neb... and use it!

My consultant was very unsure about letting me have one as he felt i would wait too long before going into hospital. I convinced him i was a fully grown adult with a brain which worked fairly well... even without much oxygen! :-)

My neb has been a life saver... my asthma is severe, last week i was a t work at 8am and on a ventilator at 11am. My neb keeps me going whilst im waiting for help. If i need my neb every hour it's time to call for help.

I think if you deteriorate quickly then a neb can help whilst your waiting for paramedics. The downside is that if people know you have a home neb you can be holiday insurance.... they think your poorly controlled just by having a neb at home.

Best wishes Truly


my son who is 3 has a home neb which was provided by the hosp (they can take it back if and when he is more controlled) he has to go in if he needs it more than 4hourly but i think that may be cos of his age. as the others have said, a protocal is essential that way both you and the medical staff know at what point to get help.


Hello Molly, and hello to everyone else as well,

I also have a nebuliser, -Omron Microair. Also got the severe atopic /brittle type two asthma, plus now mild COPD.

In the past I have over used nebs, but that was when I was very stubborn and in denial about how uncontrollable my asthma was becoming (was pretty stable for ten years, then two a half years ago everything changed).

Since becoming more or less stable on other medication, I don't use my nebuliser as much.But in certain sorts of weather, or if I've been in contact with external irritants, like smoke, my pf and symptoms just plummet. I can't use the ventolin/salb inhalers with spacers, and the terbutaline type inhalers have absolutely no effect upon the airways.So the use of a neb on these sorts of occasions can be a lifesaver.

I also have a very strict protocol agreed with my chest con about how many to use, and how often, before seeking help, but have to say my new GP is not happy about me using nebs. However I am very sensible now and far more aware of the dangers of overuse.

I also live in a village where it takes twenty minutes for an ambulance/paramedics to reach, and feel more confident about having the use of a nebuliser in this respect.

Like Truly was saying, - hi Truly - you will be penalised re insurance purposes when travelling, as I found out to my cost during a recent holiday to Barbados.

Ironically I didn't need to neb at all in Barbados as the air was so clean and my pf dramatically improved.

Good luck.



Hi Mia

Yeah ironic but i never need to use my neb in warm countries!



Hey Truly,

Sounds like you and me, and our lungs, prefer the very warm sort of weather.

I know a good place, just 14% north of the equator, slightly moist but fresh, very warm, but not stiflingly so, some fresh air courtesy of the tradewinds....




brittle asthma and nebulisers

I too have type 2 brittle asthma and use a nebuliser when I have an attack. I find that it does help just a little whilst waiting for the ambulance. I usually just make it to the hospital which is 10 miles away about 20 mins by car. 10 to 15 mins by ambulance. I am usually ventilated every admission. I get an attack about ever 3-4 months.Hope this helps. Best wishes Jules


Brittle Asthma


I've had brittle asthma for 3 and a half years and like you my peak flow falls really quickly.

I have asked both my consultant and gp re the home neb and both were very against it.

I felt that i could benefit from less trips to A&E if I had a home neb but as I am not wheezy and breathless constantly I was advised it would be best not to have on e at home. In thier eyes, if I am poorly enough to need nebulised then I should be in hospital but then again I know that there are loads of peeps who sign on here and they are on home nebs and cope OK.

At the end of the day if you do take the home neb and have an attack and struggle to set it up - if in doubt phone for an ambulance, dont waste time !

Take care



For many, many months I was in and out ambulances, in and out A & E and needless to say I was becoming tired of the round trips and the asthma. I was eventually diagnosed as a brittle type 1 and what I did discover was that every time I was in A & E I would be given nebs back to back. In October '03 I had 9 nebs back to back with all the other meds being administered IV within approx 1/2 to 3/4 hour due to the urgency of the time. Suddenly my local hospital woke up to the fact that I was spending several extremely early mornings in A & E every week and made a decission to keep me in until I was stable. 6 weeks later I was released home. Less than 2 weeks later I was in again. My hubby became fed up with all of the late nights (but not with me nor the asthma) and asked me what in my opinion would allow me to remain home. Then after a discussion with my consultant he agreed that as more than 60% of my time was in hospital on the same meds I am on at home but was just having the nebs at hospital he agreed to let me have a nebulizer at home on the proviso that if I passed 5 nebs in number back to back, I would have to go into A & E and be assessed. Now I only spend about 20% of my time in hospital. Some times I find that I will have have 7 nebs back to back and would not require to enter A & E, sometimes I am aware that I would not be able to control my asthma particularly well after 4 nebs and hubby calls an ambulance. I suppose each attack has to be taken on its own merits so to speak [particularly bad phrase but nothing else comes to mind.....sorry] Yes my nebulizer does make a difference to my life.


Thank you to all of you for your replies. They have certainly given me food for thought and a basis for discussion when I next see my consultant



Hi Molly

I have used nebulisers since they were introduced to the NHS. I find them really good, and I can now manage my asthma, and can usually manage to avoid an emergency admission to hospital, as the nebuliser gives you the time to contact your hospital ashma nurse who can then find you a bed without a visit to A&E.

I have had many admissions over the years, sometimes as many as 12 a year. I use my nebuliser 4 times a day as standard, and have extra nebs if I need them. But with regular treatment with steroids and allergy avoidance, I now only get admitted via clinic for treatment.


Hi i've used a nebuliser since about 2 and a half. My asthma sounds like yours but at the time the hospital was wary over giving out a nebuliser but now they're really common. My parents said it was the best thing ever, and it stopped me from going into hospital for one nebuliser and being discharged, as it still does. I'd give it a go, it doesn't take that long to set up, and i tend to keep my nebule medication inside my nebuliser unit so that its very quick to set up. If you still feel yourself getting worse very quickly you can still call an ambulance. plus if it does help you may not have to go into hospital so much.

hope that helps a little bit xx


Hi there.

I'm a brittle type 2, like you, and I do have a home neb. Partly because I am brittle and partly because I live in a rural part of the world, and I'm at least 10 mins from an ambulance.

While I sometimes go six months without using it, it can be a godsend, and indeed a lifesaver. Consultants don't recommend them lightly, so I'd consider it if you can.

I hope things stablise soon!



hi i hav briital asthma and i cant go a week with out using my home neb i think its great so i dont have to go to hospital but i stilll have to go anyway it good so you have some controle


michael has a home neb - our consultant suggested it to us last year after yet another lengthy visit - it means that if he is borderline, i can give him 4 hourly nebs without having to be admitted, and when he has been in, we can go home earlier co we dont have to cut all the way down to multidosing. he uses it every day at the mo but thats his hayfever taking control like last year. if your doc has suggested it i would consider it, possibly have it ready to goafter each use so that all you have to do is pop a nebule in. thats what we do even though he obviously has me to do the setting up for him!!!


i have

Hi i have a nebuliser at home which i take ventilin and atrovent nebs 4 tymes daily and more if i need it. I also have a portable one to take places it was a bit embarrising at first but i thought what the hell ill rather take it and be well.


I have a portable nebulizer which is easy and quiet to use. My attacks can be similar to yours, it's scary and exhausting. I have brittle asthma and reflux cough disease.

I was prescribed nebules years ago, then a GP decided not to prescribe them to me after an asthma attack last year, after I ended up in A&E. This wasn't my usual GP, I had a severe asthma attack a week ago and it took 45 minutes for an ambulance to arrive. It was very scary and I was exhausted. So I went back to the GP who has known me for 20 years and explained what had happened and she has prescribed nebules. I have to still call an ambulance but it will help me while I wait. It gets to a point that a ventolin inhaler doesn't reach into my lungs. I'm hoping the ambulance delay was a one off.


You may also like...