Give A Child A Breathing Treatment

Give a Child a Breathing Treatment

Respiratory distress in children is a serious health condition. Caused by allergies, asthma or other breathing illness, a child requires special care for successful treatment. A breathing treatment of a prescribed medicine can control and alleviate a child’s breathing difficulties.


1. Understand that children with respiratory distress usually need to use a nebulizer to administer prescribed medication. A nebulizer is a machine that turns liquid medicine into a breathable mist for the child to inhale.

2. Realize that your doctor prescribes medications based on your child’s symptoms and illness. Follow his dosing instructions and have him show you properly use a nebulizer if he doesn’t offer a demonstration.

3. Familiarize yourself with the nebulizer. The machine for administering the breathing treatment consists of the machine itself, tubing and a mask for your child to place over the nose and mouth. Some machines used forced air to turn the liquid medicine into mist; these are the most common and are noisy. Ultrasonic nebulizers use ultrasound waves to turn the liquid into a breathable mist; these machines are quiet. Not all liquid medications can be used with the ultrasonic nebulizer.

4. Take the dosed medicine and add it to the medicine cup that is attached to the mask (there is a cone-shaped removable piece). Screw the mask back onto the medicine cup, ensuring that the tubing on the underside of the cup is secured. Take the other end of the tubing and insert it into the nebulizer.

5. Sit your child upright and hold the mask to his face, covering his nose and mouth entirely. Choose a time of day that your child is calm to help him remain still during the treatment. Turn on an entertaining television program to hold his attention while administering the breathing treatment. It generally takes six to ten minutes to perform a breathing treatment, depending on the dosage.

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6. Exude confidence while attempting to give a child a breathing treatment. If you seem unsure or scared in any way, your child senses this and becomes scared as well. Comfort your child, reassure him that the treatment doesn’t hurt and makes him breathe better. Offer him a small reward for taking his medicine.

7. Rinse the medicine cup, mask and tubing after each use and allow them to fully dry before the next use in order to maintain optimum performance.