Can You Put Water Into a Nebulizer?

When asking, “Can you put water into a nebulizer?” it’s always important to consider your respiratory health.

Nebulizers are designed to work with specific types of medication rather than water.

However, using water either as a dilutant or alone in a nebulizer is more common than you’d think.

In this guide, we’ll explore some research into using water in your nebulizer and tips to help you along the way.

Before trying anything new to help alleviate symptoms of your ailment, always ensure you talk to your doctor first.

It’s important to remember everybody is unique, and you must find the ideal treatment for your needs.

Table of Contents

    Do Nebulizers Use Water?

    Since nebulizers and steamers or humidifiers work similarly, many people assume they’re the same.

    However, these two devices are quite different, especially regarding the type of vapor they produce.

    Nebulizers aren’t designed to work with water like steamers and humidifiers but are best for medications.

    When you receive a nebulizer from your doctor, it will likely come with a specific prescription.

    This prescription will be for a liquid medication added to the nebulizer, allowing it to be turned into an extremely fine vapor.

    As you inhale through the mouthpiece or mask of your nebulizer, the vapor travels deep into your lungs, offering soothing relief.

    For some, nebulizers are a treatment to help deal with the symptoms of a respiratory flare-up.

    For others, it can be used as a preventative treatment, ensuring your airways are strong to help prevent a flare-up.

    With that said, they are often recommended only to be used with specific medications.

    On the other hand, Humidifiers and steamers are designed to work with either water alone or water and another product.

    Some people like to add essential oils to their humidifiers to add a soothing scent, while others use ingredients like Vicks.

    The primary difference between the two devices is the water vapor they produce, as humidifiers create bigger droplets.

    These droplets aren’t meant to be inhaled directly as your nebulizer medicine is.

    Instead, they are absorbed into the air, making it easier to breathe in a specific room.

    They’re great for general respiratory discomfort but not ideal for specific respiratory diseases.

    Can You Put Water Into a Nebulizer?

    With a clear idea of the differences between nebulizers and humidifiers, it’s time to consider whether you can put water into a nebulizer.

    Although it’s not the recommended treatment method, it can be done, especially once you’ve received doctor approval.

    Many people use water in nebulizers for at-home treatments, mainly if they’ve run out of their prescription.

    Soothing Effects

    When you put water into your nebulizer, you’re giving your airways a similar soothing reaction as they would have with medicine.

    Although it’s not going to be nearly as effective, a fine water mist can help moisturize your airways.

    It’s not ideal for medicating yourself, but it can help alleviate some discomfort.

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    Calming Coughs

    Another benefit to using water in your nebulizer is to help turn an unproductive cough into a productive one.

    A dry cough can cause substantial discomfort to your chest, throat, and mouth.

    Adding moisture to your airways with a nebulizer can help to penetrate your lungs, softening your cough.

    Assisting With Allergies

    The effects of allergies can be quite debilitating, especially during allergy season.

    Instead of suffering through the discomfort, adding water to your nebulizer can help.

    As the moisture enters your airways, the fine water droplets attach themselves to the irritants in your system.

    You can trap the allergens and remove them from your body through coughing and sneezing with regular use.

    The added benefit of a nebulizer with water is that it soothes your body while getting rid of allergens in your system.

    How to Use a Nebulizer With Water

    Consider some tips, whether you’re using water as a dilutant or alone in your nebulizer.

    Let’s jump into the essential things you need to know to make the most of using one.

    Step 1: Prepare the Nebulizer

    Preparing your nebulizer is the first step to take whether you’re using water or medicine in the device.

    However, it’s more important with water as there aren’t any disinfecting properties to help with cleaning the machine.

    Using a mixture of two parts sterile water with one part white vinegar to clean the mouthpiece and T-shaped connector before use can be beneficial.

    Always make sure there aren’t any traces of dust or dirt in the nebulizer.

    Some unhealthy compounds will be inhaled directly into your lungs if it’s dirty.

    It’s also important to ensure the components are dry before attaching them to the compressor.

    Step 2: Use Sterile Water

    When you’re inhaling water into your body, you’ll want to ensure it’s of the highest quality.

    Tap water is often safe to drink, but it’s not ideal to be inhaled through your nebulizer.

    Instead, you’ll want to invest in specifically sterile water that won’t contain any trace elements and minerals.

    If you’re unable to get your hands on sterile water, bottled water can be a good alternative.

    Or, if you have filtered water in your household, you can also use that.

    Step 3: Turn on the Nebulizer

    Using water in your nebulizer requires the same steps as you expect when using the medicine.

    After all of the parts have been disinfected and added to your sterile water, simply reconnect the components.

    Place the mouthpiece or mask on your face and power on the unit, allowing the mist to penetrate your respiratory system.

    Make sure you keep the nebulizer on a flat surface, allowing the compressor to work effectively.

    Also, ensure you’re using a good breathing method, allowing the moisture to enter and exit slowly.

    The deeper breaths you use, the less time you’ll have to use your nebulizer.

    Step 4: Clean the Device

    Once you’ve finished your treatment, you must clean your nebulizer for a second time.

    Since you used water in the device instead of medicine, you’ll want to remove any moisture before storing it.

    Also, it’s best to ensure there aren’t any minerals left behind that could clog the machine over time.

    Again, you can use a sterile solution of white vinegar and sterile water to keep the unit clean.

    Also, use a clean paper towel to keep the unit dry, ensuring there aren’t any water deposits left behind.

    Putting Water Into Nebulizers

    If you’re asking, “Can you put water into a nebulizer?” the answer is yes, as long as you have your doctor’s approval.

    Water isn’t a replacement for standard medicine but can be helpful if you’re between refills or accidentally leave your medicine behind while on a trip.

    As long as you use sterile water, you can give your respiratory system some relief.

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