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British Lung Foundation
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Hi, My husband was diagnosed with Emphysema (COPD) three months ago having suffered for years and refusing to go to GP, my question to all of you is this,,,,,,,should I have a nebulizer in the house,

I've been advised by the specialist nurse plus my GP not to,,,,,,,,however having witnessed two bad episodes one in Hospital where had he been at home he would not have survived, I am very keen to have one,,,,,,,,,my biggest fear is he won't survive the next flare up while waiting for the Ambulance if I don't have one and never forgiving myself for not getting one ! I've reassured the above it would only be used in an emergency and the GP said if I buy the nebulizer he would prescribe the rest if I insist ! Any thoughts from those that have been through it ?

17 Replies

Did they say why they dont think he should have one.

Im assuming you want this to give him ventolin which i understand as its very hard using an inhaler when you cant breath


Sorry that I can't help you. I do not have this horrible disease. You are in a very difficult position. I know a lot of people here do have nebulisers at home. There will be plenty of helpful and supportive people who will be able to offer advice in this site.

It is very hard to have to witness someone struggling to breathe and not be able to help.

All the best for both of you,

K xx



I have just had several sessions with the respitory team, mine was similar question.

If required they wil give you one, there is no question about that.

Two reasons against one you may get to use to it. and two it is the last resort as given in hospital.

I have had two non- infection emergency admissions.

6/12 shots of Ventolin in a spacer is equivalent to a nebuliser

It was recommended that I take ventolin four times daily.

As no one looked at the underlying cause, mine are usually triggers, the first one was the daughters Air Wick automatic air freshener, that was a trip to ICU.

The second was aniexty attack, three days on respitory ward.

As I had only had nebulisers whilst in hospital, that's what prompted me to ask the question.


Hi stone-UK, one of my pet hates are those automatic air fresheners. It has taken me ages to convince family and friends that they really affect me and to turn them off if they know I am visiting before I arrive.

My wife doesn't use her nebulizer all the time, only for flare ups. She was also told just like you that using the nebulizer was the equivalent of using her normal inhaler between 6/12 times.

Hope you are having a good day and enjoying the lovely weather.

Regards. John


I had a similar experience in hospital being on a nebulisor. My granddaughter was going to order one for when I got home but I was told I too should take the ventolin 2 puffs 4 times a day every day. I was also in for a non infectious condition. I found using the spacer gives a better result for me. Hope your husbands condition improves soon.

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The same was said to me by both Pulmonary Nurses and my GP, I was given an extra spacer to use and instructed to increase the dosage the same as stone was.

*Getting the amount of cartridges increased on my prescription records took two months!


Hi Cheesedoff I am not a Medical Professional so can only speak of my personal knowledge and experience.

I only wish that your husband had gone to the Doctors when he first thought there was a problem with his health. COPD/Emphysema although progressive can be managed with proper care and treatment especially if caught in the early stages.

I have looked after my wife who has had COPD/Emphysema for over 12 years. As with all those who have COPD she suffers with exacerbations (flare ups) from time to time. Talking to my wife's Consultant it was decided that having a home nebulizer would be beneficial to her as she was getting repeated flare ups. She was informed that it should be used in conjunction with her 'Emergency Pack' of medication (antibiotics & steroids) as soon as she knew a flare up was starting as a preventative measure.

We were informed that a nebulizer should be used as a preventative rather than for emergency purposes. Waiting until you need an ambulance before using a nebulizer in my mind is waiting too long.

You say that both a Specialist Nurse and your husbands Doctor have advised against using a nebulizer. I would be asking them for an explanation as to why they think a nebulizer would not be beneficial to your husband.

I nearly lost my wife due to COPD about 18 months ago and wasn't expecting to bring her home from hospital so I know how concerned you must be feeling.

I hope I have been of some help. If not there are plenty of members who should be able to.

I wish you both well.

Regards. John


Thanks to all for taking the time to reply,,,,,,,,We were told that having the nebulizer at the time of a flare up could hide something more serious, however having thought about it and reading what "Past me Best" have said I think I will have one,,,,,

It really is the most upsetting thing to watch my husband gasping for breath and each second seems like an hour waiting for the Ambulance,,,,,,,,,,when on arrival that is what they give him,,,,,,,,,I would still call the emergency service but at least having the Nebulizer I can start giving him some relief straight away and of course it will stop the panic building up in him,,,,,,,,,,

He does have all the inhalers but on a flare up they just don't do the trick !

An emergency pack have been discussed but we've not yet had one,,,,I will follow that up on Monday,,,,,,,,

He finished a seven day prescription of steroids two day's ago and already having problems breathing.

Unfortunately during all the tests my husband had it was discovered he has an Aortic Aneurysm with complications,,,,,,,,he has had one operation cancelled due to a flare up and now been given a date for 26th,,,,,,,,so getting him stable or should I say stopping him from having another flare up is imperative ,,,,,,,,,,,

Thanks again to all



Pete has two, one from the Brompton which he prefers and a spare for home just in case. He uses nebulised drugs twice a day anyway so needs one.

If you feel your husband will benefit even for emergencies then he should have one. Xxxx

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Hi I have found that it depends on your GP or consultant and what part of the UK You live in . I have a nebulizer I bought so I didn't have to go in to hospital just to be put on one my GP and consultant are both happy with me having one in the house and I get ventolin and saline neb from my GP. And I just use it when my community resp team tell me too. Hope you get something sorted out because it sounds like your husband would benefit from having one at home. X


Usually those with a occupational lung disease would not be recommended for nebuliser as it kicks all s###% back up from lungs as I have experienced.

But I guess it's all down to stuff you going to put in it .... As am coughing up asbestos I don't think given sore throat infection fever like symptoms breathing trouble I should be using one myself or saline or hypertonic.

BUT I guess stuff like ventolin in emergencies is ok ...

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I also have a home nebulizer given to me by my respiratory team. I am under strict instructions to only use it when I start my rescue meds. I was told that a lot of people buy them themselves for home use together with the ventolin nebs and then use it on a daily basis. The trouble with that is, they have then nowhere else to go when they get a bad flare up. I would not go against the advise given by your nurse and doctor. They may have reasons for giving that advise.

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Before you get one make sure you can get the ventolin first to put in it as for a good one you are looking at abut £60.00 up as not all docters will give it to you if one do not try a nother one in your doctors if you have more and if he or she says no ask them y


Last time I was at A&E, the paramedics gave me two doses of Salbutamol on the nebuliser and the ambulance crew gave me another. Went in at about 11.00 am and was eventually seen by a doctor at 4.30 pm! Well, that's Eastbourne for you.

The doctor I saw seemed to have a good handle on what might be going on with my chest and he suggested I ask the consultant (I was due a first consultation the following week) if a home nebuliser would be a good idea.

Well, I forgot to ask that question but will remember to ask when I see him again on August 8th as it has been on my mind ever since.

I've read that they are no longer advised as routine and also, the maintenance of them can be another chore, but if you need it, you need it!

I understand you can use them with saline to assist breathing and clearing phlegm too.

I honestly think that without the paramedic and the nebuliser, I wouldn't be here now.


Its been 12 months plus since last hospital stay. This is mainly because I self medicate with doctors and consultants permission and having severe COPD for some 10 years now, I have regular severe exasperations and chest infections which require rescue packs, I alternate my antibiotics between doxycycline and amoxicillin. I have been at deaths door twice with only hours to live, but I must say the doctors and consultants I have had on the Wirral (Arrowe park hospital) have been second two none that's why I am still here, I love life and I thank them all. I am prescribed a nebulizer which I use up to 4 times a day with Ventolin, Ipratropium, and Saline nebuliser solution and its a god send I assure you. I'm on oxygen 24/7 which I can regulate lower or higher as and when needed, when I'm stable its on 1 or even turned off until I feel I'm struggling this also is a necessary god send, I know where different with different needs for our conditions, I hope this is of some help. PS. I recommend using a spacer on inhalers its definitely been more beneficial for me. GOD BLESS YOU ALL.

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Same area as you charlieangus and can't fault the treatment my husband has had,,,,,,,,,,best wishes x


I was given a nebulizer a few months ago. Used it just once as all it did was leave my heart pounding and my body shaking, but no relief. Returned it to Harefield. I understand its aim is to shake up any mucus on the lungs and so you can cough it all up. I can usually get rid of mucus so for me it just caused more problems. I rarely use Ventolin as it makes my heart pound; just rely on Symbicort & Spiriva, and of course, oxygen. However, I am sure that for some people it is a Godsend.

Take care



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