Nebulisers

Can I get a nebuliser from the NHS to use at home?

Medications used with a nebuliser can be provided on prescription, but the nebuliser itself isn't always available on the NHS.

We recommend that you use a nebuliser at home only if:

  • your health care professional has recommended one for you
  • your health care professional prescribes medications to use with it
  • you and your carer are trained to use it
  • you and your carer understand the risk of infection, and know how to clean and dry the nebuliser parts thoroughly to avoid infection

Medications used with a nebuliser can be provided on prescription, but the nebuliser itself isn't always available on the NHS.

In some areas, if your consultant or specialist respiratory clinic decides you would benefit from using a nebuliser at home, they may arrange this for you. In this case, you may be loaned a nebuliser by the hospital or a community respiratory service. They will usually be responsible for its service and maintenance – do check.

Sometimes a local respiratory service may provide the device without charge, but if this isn't an option, you may have to pay for a device.

If your health care professional arranges a nebuliser for you, it is important they arrange for you and your carer to be trained to use it. You should also be shown how to look after it and how to make sure it is working properly.

Your health care professional may agree you need a nebuliser and agree to supply the medication. If you have to buy it yourself, get one from a reputable manufacturer or dealer and make sure:

  • you know how to service it
  • you understand how you must clean it to prevent infection

Get advice from your hospital or the manufacturer about cleaning and maintenance before you buy.

Make sure you have a plan agreed with your health care professional about when to use a nebuliser. You should also discuss possible side effects. Your plan should also cover what to do in an emergency, if the nebuliser breaks down, or is very slow.

Travel nebulisers

If you need a nebuliser when you are away from home, tell your health care professional you plan to travel. Ask about getting a travel nebuliser and about a prescription for the medication you will need. You may need to buy one from a reputable supplier if a travel nebuliser isn’t available in your area.

Have a look at our information about going on holiday with a lung condition for more tips.

Next: Cleaning your nebuliser >

Download our nebulisers PDF (239KB)

Last medically reviewed: August 2018. Due for review: August 2021

This information uses the best available medical evidence and was produced with the support of people living with lung conditions. Find out how we produce our information. If you’d like to see our references get in touch.