How to Use Only Water in My Nebulizer

Nebulizers are often used by children and adults to treat asthma or other breathing conditions. This air machine converts liquid, such as asthma medicine, into a breathable fine mist. Instead of medicine, a saline water solution or water alone can be used to aid in breathing.

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If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

A nebulizer is especially helpful for coughs because it helps moisten the nasal passages and penetrate the lungs to calm coughs. Inhaling mist from a nebulizer increases the effectiveness of the solution in it, even if it is just plain water.

Check that the nebulizer is clean and doesn't contain any medicine residue or other dirt. If it needs cleaning, take it apart and wash it with liquid soap and water. Shake off excess water and let dry completely before putting it back together. If the nebulizer does not need to be washed, sterilize the mouthpiece only by cleaning it with cotton balls or a paper towel dipped in 94 percent alcohol. Reattach the mouthpiece once cleaned.

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Place the nebulizer on a clean, solid table. Plug it into an electrical outlet.

Fill the nebulizer with tap or bottled water where indicated. Be careful not to overfill. There will be a level-line indicator on the nebulizer and water should be filled up to that level. Skip any additional steps as directed by the nebulizer instructions pertaining to filling the nebulizer's cup with medicine. In this case, you will only be using water.

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Turn on the nebulizer 1 and check if mist comes out from the mouthpiece. Turn the nebulizer off 1.

Take the mouthpiece and place it in or around your mouth, depending on what kind of mouthpiece your nebulizer comes with. Some nebulizers have a mouthpiece, while others have a strap to place around the head for comfort. Close your mouth.

Turn on the nebulizer 1. The nebulizer needs to stay level on the table or flat surface. Breathe in deeply and exhale slowly through the nose. Keep your mouth closed. Continue breathing in and out slowly for several minutes. Deep breaths will shorten the time the nebulizer has to be used. You do not need to keep the nebulizer on until the water is gone. Keep on breathing until you feel better or want to take a break.

Turn the nebulizer off 1 when finished and unplug. Remove mouthpiece, and dry mouth with tissues. Remove any excess water and clean the pieces of the nebulizer with soap and water.


Talk to your doctor about using just water in the nebulizer if unsure of the effect it will have on you. Water mist is safe for mostly everyone. According to nebulizer users, using just water helps with lung diseases, asthma and even allergies in both adults and children.