[Over the last couple of months, we have been outlining asthma management tips and strategies to help early learning practitioners better serve preschool-aged children. This blog is the second in the series. Click here to read the first, here to read the second and here to read the third.]

Early Learning Practitioners often have questions regarding nebulizers that are either brought into the center by parents or for the units kept there. We know that germs love dark, humid, warm places to live and grow. Mold and bacteria can easily grow on this equipment if it is not properly cleaned and disinfected, and that could lead to respiratory issues for a child with asthma.

Let’s start with the easy stuff. The plastic tubing that carries the air to your nebulizer does not require cleaning unless it gets dirty on the outside. Just take time to wipe off the outside of this tubing. You don’t want to place it in water because you don’t want water inside the tubing. Any tubing that shows dirt on the inside should be thrown away. The same is true for the air compressor–you only need to wipe off the outside. You may not know this but your air compressor has filters that need to be changed regularly, too.

To clean your nebulizer, just follow this easy schedule:

  • After every use: rinse the nebulizer cup, mask, or mouthpiece thoroughly with warm water, shake off excess water and let air dry.
  • At the end of each day: the nebulizer cup, mask, or mouthpiece should be washed with warm soapy water and rinsed with clean water, then laid out on a paper towel over night to dry.
  • Once a week: wash with warm soapy water and after rinsing thoroughly, disinfect with white vinegar. To use the vinegar solution, mix 1/2 cup white vinegar with 1 1/2 cups of water. Soak the equipment for 20 minutes and rinse well under a steady stream of water. Shake off the excess water and allow to air dry on a paper towel. Always allow the equipment to completely dry before storing in a plastic, zippered bag.

The nebulizer kit, cup, mask, or mouthpiece should not be used for multiple children. Once a kit is opened and used, it should be for that individual child only and then sent home. If you should happen to get some water in the tubing, just connect it to the nebulizer and turn it on for a few seconds to allow the air to push out the water.

You can learn more by watching an educational video on how to clean and disinfect your nebulizer on our YouTube channel.