How to Use Saline in a Nebulizer


Using saline solution in a nebulizer is an excellent and safe way to help lung congestion. The saline solution helps break up mucus in the lungs so that it may be expelled by a cough. It can also soothe throats and airways that have become irritated from too much coughing. Since saline solution is just sterile salt water and not an actual medication, it is completely safe and free of side effects.

Things You'll Need

  • Sterile saline solution
  • Nebulizer
  • Nebulizer tubing
  • Nebulizer compressor
  • Water
  • Paper Towel

Assemble your nebulizer.

Twist off the top of your vial of sterile saline solution and squirt all the contents into the nebulizer cup. The cup is the bottom part of your nebulizer.

Attach the nebulizer tube to the nebulizer by pushing it onto the plastic protuberance on the bottom of the cup.

Turn on the compressor. The on/off switch will be the only switch on the compressor and should be easy to find.

Place your mouth on the mouthpiece, or the mask over your face, and breathe deeply until no more mist comes out of the nebulizer. This means the saline is gone.

Detach the tubing from the nebulizer. Allow the compressor to run until all moisture inside the tube is gone, and then turn it off.

Disassemble the nebulizer and rinse all parts with warm, soapy water. Allow the parts to dry thoroughly on a clean paper towel before the next use.

Tips & Warnings

  • Sit up straight if possible while nebulizing to get the maximum benefit.

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  • Kristin Shelton; Respiratory Therapist, Sanford University
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