Cleaning Asthma Supplies - Get To It!
Who's super diligent with cleaning their asthma supplies? I'd get a B or B+ if I were to be graded, so there's room for some improvement. So how many of your just do a basic rinse and dry for your equipment :() While we've all probably been guilty of this, but it is important to get that asthma equipment clean and importantly germ - bacteria free and keep us from getting sick!
Let's start with nebulizer care. All parts used each day, this includes the plastic Spacer as well, the mouthpiece, mask, nebulizer cup should be gently washed with warm mild soapy water and rinsed well on paper or a towel to dry. If you've washed everything at once but you realize that you need to nebulize, make sure you thoroughly dry all parts with paper towel, we don't want or need any water droplets getting into our lungs!
[ Smart tip Vanessa!]
Once weekly, its good to give your equipment a deep clean. After washing with warm water and mild soap, it's time to disinfect with White Vinegar- the only one you should be using, not apple cider or any flavored vinegars. Simply soak the parts in 1/2 cup vinegar and 11/2 cups water for 15-20 minutes then rinse very well and allow to dry completely before you store away.
[ Yep, hydro surfing on top of the water may be fun, water inside the lungs is
NOT! BTW I don't think this little guy's having a very jolly time! ]
Nebulizer tubing is not meant to be washed. If there's water or condensation in the tube, try hanging it stretched out until it appears clear. You can also try connecting to you your nebulizer and letting it blow out the moisture for a bit, but this isn't a guaranteed fix. If you can't get the wetness out of the tubing, then discard it and start with new tubing. This is important because, again we don't want water in our airways and lungs.
As for the nebulizer machine itself, a simple wipe down with a damp cloth, soapy water is fine, or a disinfectant wipe. If there's something crusty stuck on the nebulizer ( hey with kids, this happens :() ) just let soapy cloth rest on machine until the mess easily comes off.
[ Yes, so Asthma Smart that is! ]
Let's not forget about the filter as was when in our last post Let's Get Nebulizer Smart! For most nebulizer machines the rule is every six months requires a new filter. You can ask your doctor or pharmacy of they carry them. It's good to have a few on hand do that your'e not caught with a filthy old filter and none left to change.
[ All set - medicine tubes out and cleaning ready for commence! ]
What about actual inhalers? Those inhalers go into our mouths so yes, they too need a good cleaning. Bacteria buildup fungi or even viruses could result if we go without proper cleaning for these very important little apparatus that allow us to breathe better. Furthermore, the consistency of the medication could be altered by debris and dirt or moisture, resulting in us not getting the measured dose required. The fact that microorganisms can grow on unclean inhalers and other asthma equipment means we could get this contamination into our lungs, and we want to avoid this at all costs. However, different kinds of inhalers have different needs for cleaning.
[ The removable medicine tubes should be placed somewhere you cans and remember where they are. We don't want to wind up with clean inhaler bodies and no medicine! ]
Dry Powdered Inhaler (DPI) such as Advair: For this inhaler type, simply thoroughly dry the mouthpiece with a clean dry cloth.
Metered Dose Inhaler (MDI) like Ventolin, Symbicort... have a little metal container that is placed into the inhaler via a plastic mouthpiece: If the device isn't cleaned medicine buildup can happen and actually clog the device so it won't spray properly.
*After each use or after the day's use remove the little metal container from mouthpiece.
*Wash the mouthpiece with warm water for at least 30 seconds and gently shake off excess water and allow to dry thoroughly.
* Do NOT wash the medicine container or get it wet! When dry place the inhaler back together and store for the next use.
* Soft Mist inhalers like Spiriva Respimat should simply be wiped down around the mouth area with a damp cloth and allowed to dry.
If your having inconsistent relief from your inhalers, check to see if you have clogged or dirty equipment, and of course check with your doctor!
So that's it, nothing complicated, or any special cleaners needed. The biggest hurdle is remembering to do this regularly. I've started setting alarms on my phone and calendar for instant reminders! Let's get cleaning and then back to breathing!