Asthma UK community forum

Nebulisers - Need advice

Hi My name is Cara Wilson!

I ahve been onto the Kick asthma discussion forum to talk about Nebulisers and if they are benificail but i didnt really get good advice since most of the people on there are about my age!

I was hoping to get some advice from adults with experiance with asthma!

PLs comment as i am desperate 4 help! LOL

Cara Wilson xxx

8 Replies


PLS I NEED ADVICE!!!!!!!!!!lol




Have you been prescribed nebulisers from your gp or hospital consultant?

No point in purchasing one if you havnt got the software to use in it!

Go to google and put nebulisers in and youll get many ideas

What sort of neb you after?a small discreet hand held like Omoron?the got own website but currently out of stock or a porta neb? think its Greens! dont quote me though they are all a lot cheaper nowadays but its when u need them serviced that the prob arrises do you borrow another(at a cost) or make do

LLoyds chemist do quite a range both on line and in their shops and they can organise servicing,if you send them away it takes time to do and its a pain

Sorry to be longwinded




what advice do you need?

We can give you personal advice but your medical team should give you advice when they prescribe it, anyone can buy them but you need medical support for the relivant drugs aswell as a protocol for use. Some hosp luckly mine included supply general neb, supplies and maintenence.

But then portable ones have to be personally supplied.

Andrea xxx



Your GP/consultant MUST prescribe the relevent drugs for you but only at a last resort. They do not like prescribing these sort of drugs to people unless they are really in need of them.

Like Wheezyab's, my hospital provides nebs and maintenance and service. So i have one for home but i also purchased a portable one for when i am out and about away from my home neb.

If you feel like you need one then please speak to you GP/Asthma nurse or Cons first and they will tell you whether it is the right couse of treatment for you.



Cara Says

Can i av some advice on What it actuallu does PLS!

Cara xxx


Cara Says

Can i av some advice on What it actuallu does PLS!

Cara xxx


u neva had a neb b4

hi on the KA u say uve neva had a neb b4. there is alot more u can do b4 u try nebs wat meds r u on 4 asthma can u post da nmes of all of dem as im gettin confused u sed u were on becotide and salbutamol blue n brown dem wen i pmed u wid my list of meds u say u are also on them as well as da ones u stated . im getting confused help mee!!!! can u post ur full list of meds for asthma den maybe we can gve u sum advice.


Hi Cara,

I'm not entirely sure exactly what information you are after here, but I will try to explain what nebulisers do and what they are for.

A nebuliser is basically composed of a mask or mouthpiece over a small plastic chamber which is then connected by tubing to a compressor machine. The compressor usually runs off mains electricity and blows air through the tubing and into the chamber (you can also get battery powered nebs which are usually ultrasonic and work in a slightly different way). Liquid drugs are put into the chamber and as the air passes through, the drugs are formed into a fine mist which is then inhaled into the lungs.

The most commonly used drugs in a nebuliser are reliever medications like salbutamol (Ventolin) and iptratropium (Atrovent). Sometimes other drugs such as steroids, antibiotics or saline are also used. The drugs must be prescribed by your doctor and come in small plastic vials - one vial is usually about 2ml of liquid.

The main advantages to using a nebuliser instead of an inhaler when you have an asthma attack are that much bigger doses can be given (typically 25 to 50 times the dose of one puff of an inhaler), it can be given quickly, the particles are smaller so theorectically it can get down into the smaller airways deep in your lungs, and it is often easier to use than an inhaler in a severe attack.

However, there are some real disadvantages to nebuliser treatment as well. Practically speaking, they can be a nightmare - many of them need mains power, they are noisy, expensive to purchase, and they can break down. The larger doses of drugs involved can also mean that side effects such as shaking and fast heart rate are usually a lot worse than with inhalers. More importantly, having and using a nebuliser can give a false sense of security and can actually be dangerous, if it is not used in the right way. A lot of the asthma deaths that occur in this country occur because people are sitting at home using their nebulisers over and over again and thinking that they are alright, whereas in fact what they should be doing is getting themselves into hospital. By the time an asthmatic gets to the stage where nebs aren't working, which can happen, it usually means they are in real trouble and need to be in hospital asap. For this reason, many doctors feel that, for most asthmatics, if you are bad enough to need a neb you need to be in hospital, where they can keep a close eye on you.

A very small number of asthmatics do have nebulisers at home, after very careful consultation with both their GP and a hospital respiratory doctor. There are two main reasons for having one at home. The first reason would be if you were someone who regularly has very sudden onset severe attacks which require hospital treatment - in which case your consultant may recommend a nebuliser to use in emergencies only, whilst waiting for an ambulance to take you to hospital. The second reason would be if you are requiring nebs on a more frequent or day to day basis, simply to keep you stable-ish - then some consultants would consider a nebuliser in order to reduce the length of time spent in hospital and to improve your quality of life. Both these situations are pretty rare. If someone does have nebs at home, they will usually have a very carefully thought out management plan agreed with their doctors, stating when they should use the neb and how often they can use it before seeking extra help or going to hospital. This plan will be very individual to the patient, so what is right for one person will almost certainly not be right for another.

The vast majority of asthmatics are more safely managed without a home neb, for the reasons I've described above - most people, if they are unwell enough to need a neb, should be in hospital so that they can be closely monitored. In an acute attack, most asthmatics should find that ten puffs of their reliever inhaler via a spacer should be as easy and effective as a nebuliser, with a smaller chance of nasty side effects (discuss this with your doctor before you try it, though).

Nebuliser medication can only be prescribed by your doctor. If your doctor feels that you need a home nebuliser, most respiratory clinics have a stock of basic nebulisers for long term loan to patients, so you shouldn't have to buy one. The loan nebs are usually mains powered, big and noisy, though, and for that reason many people who have home nebs do also buy a smaller, more portable, quieter one.

If you do feel you need a nebuliser, you certainly need to discuss it with your doctor - don't go out and buy one, as I have said it shouldn't be necessary and you may well find that your doctor is unwilling to prescribe the medication to go into it, which then makes it an expensive waste of money!

Anyway, I hope this gives you a little more idea of the issues involved - do ask if you have any more questions!

Take care

Em H


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