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Monday, August 27, 2012

Teaching my own kids.....

It's been a while since daughter Kitty has been really sick. But school started last week, so here we go with the first illness of the school year (what do you expect when you're around 1200 other kids in a school...)

She was coughing and didn't sound very good, so I knew she needed a breathing treatment with the nebulizer. She used to be pretty good at putting the nebulizer kit together and doing her own treatment, but she couldn't remember how.

This is our nebulizer, canister and tubing kit. Our canister comes apart so it can be easily cleaned. I showed Kitty how to pull it apart and add the Albuterol to the 'green volcano' and put it back together. She's old enough to sit still and read or watch TV while she does her treatment. With little kids, you may have to distract them or let them give 'teddy' or whatever stuffed animal they love a 'treatment' first. I know moms that put a little water in the canister to mimic the mist from the Albuterol and then kids can give their stuffed animal a 'treatment'. Then it's their turn, and mom adds Albuterol for the child.

Anyway, we're past those days.

But with any nebulizer, you need to take care of it and the canister and tubing kit. We've had our nebulizer for 12 years now. However, the tubing kits are disposable and should be thrown away. In the hospital, they use the same tubing kit the entire time the kids are in there. So, we use ours at home for a while before we throw them away. BUT you must make sure they are cleaned after every use. The home health care taught us to take the canister apart and hand wash it with hot, sudsy water. Then rinse it, then sterilize it by soaking it in a bowl with 1 part vinegar to 2 parts hot water. We let it sit for half an hour. Then rinse it and put it on a paper towel to air dry. (Don't put it on a dish towel, that can contaminate it.)

It's a lot of work, but well worth it. If you don't take care of the canister and tubing kit, the wet canister and tubing can grow all sorts of nasty things in it. Then you use it for a breathing treatment, and that is a recipe for disaster. Ask your doctor or home health care how they want you to clean the canister and tubing kit. Also how many times you can use the kit before you should throw it away.

You should practice putting the kit together and taking it apart. So if you are in a hurry and your child is really sick, you will be able to do it without any trouble. You would be surprised how you can panic when your child is struggling to breath. You can completely blank out and forget things. I know this from personal experience and 12 hospitalizations for my kid's asthma. It can be scary. So practice, practice, practice.  

You'll thank me later!    

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