It’s important that as a nebulizer owner and user you perform some basic maintenance and cleaning to keep the medical device in working order. But often times the replacement of nebulizer parts is needed to provide optimum functionality, and therefore the best possible treatment. Here are a few tips for best equipment upkeep and sanitation, and information on how often to replace nebulizer parts.
Replacement Schedule for Nebulizer Parts
For insured patients with durable medical equipment (DME) benefits, most plans consider the replacement of nebulizers medically necessary on an individual basis if both of the following criteria are met:
- The primary care physician and/or specialist confirm that the member has been compliant with the nebulizer and anticipate the need for continued use to prevent a hospital admission or emergency room visits; AND
- The warranty has expired.
Here is a list of the usual maximum frequency of replacement for accessories that is considered medically necessary for nebulizer equipment:
- Administration set, small volume filtered pneumatic nebulizer: 1/month
- Administration set, small volume non-filtered pneumatic nebulizer, disposable: 2/month
- Administration set, small volume non-filtered pneumatic nebulizer, non-disposable: 1 per 6 months
- Aerosol mask, used with DME nebulizer: 1/month
- Corrugated tubing, disposable, used with large volume nebulizer: 100 feet/2 months
- Corrugated tubing, non-disposable, used with large volume nebulizer: 10 feet/year
- Dome and mouthpiece, used with small volume ultrasonic nebulizer: 2/year
- Face tent: 1/month
- Filter, disposable, used with aerosol compressor: 2/month
- Filter, non-disposable, used with aerosol compressor or ultrasonic generator: 1 per 3 months
- Immersion external heater for nebulizer: 1 per 3 years
- Nebulizer, durable glass or autoclavable plastic, bottle type, not used with oxygen: 1 per 3 years
- Small volume non-filtered pneumatic nebulizer, disposable: 2/month
- Tracheostomy mask or collar: 1/month
- Water collection device, used with large volume nebulizer: 2/month.
Some accessories, like disposable masks, are meant to be thrown away after 5 to 7 uses, while regular child and adult nebulizer masks are meant to be used for up to 6 months. You can confirm your replacement schedule with your insurance plan, or call Aeroflow Healthcare at 888-345-1780 and we’ll verify your insurance benefits for you. You can also request a nebulizer or replacement parts through Aeroflow on our site.
Maintaining Your Nebulizer, Parts, and Accessories
Compressor filters eventually become dirty and channels get clogged. Also, the tubing, masks, and mouthpieces will degrade over time. A good rule is to never use nebulizer equipment longer than recommended, even if they seem fine. Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for maintaining your nebulizer, parts, and accessories. Failure to change parts will make your compressor unit work harder than it should and will eventually cause the unit to fail. Be sure to keep extra tubing, mouthpieces, and masks on-hand in case they become damaged or worn in between replacement cycles.
Sterilizing Your Nebulizer Parts and Equipment
Following the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions after each use will prevent any remaining medication in the cup from drying out, which can result in the device not nebulizing effectively. Once a week, your nebulizer will need to be more thoroughly sterilized.
After each treatment:
- Wash your hands thoroughly.
- Disassemble the nebulizer.
- Rinse the mask or mouthpiece with warm water for at least half a minute.
- Do not wash nebulizer tubing or compressor.
- Shake off excess water and place parts on a clean towel for air-drying.
- Reassemble the system and turn on the compressor for a few seconds for drying.
Once a week:
- Consult your owner’s manual for specific instructions. You may be instructed to soak all nebulizer parts (except mask, tubing, and compressor) in one part distilled white vinegar/three parts hot water for one hour (do not reuse cleaning solution).
- Rinse, shake off excess water, and allow to air-dry on a clean towel.
- Reassemble the pieces and tubing and turn on the compressor briefly for drying.
Some nebulizer parts may be top-rack dishwasher safe; however, a nebulizer mask should never go through the dishwasher. Always refer to the manufacturer’s notes when cleaning your equipment. And when you’re finished performing daily or weekly maintenance on your nebulizer system, cover it and store it in a clean, safe place.