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My Nebulizer’s “Dirty Head”

Posted Jun 28 2010 11:41pm

3 heads I mentioned on Twitter or the site (I’m getting so old now, I can’t remember anything) that I was using my “dirty head” at the moment. Someone asked for clarification, so I thought it to be worthy of a post now, so I can explain how I roll with 5 treatments in a row.

Pre-requisite reading: Fatboy’s Nebulizer Life

Now that you know my routine, here is the tip part of the write-up on the method I’ve learned after 4 years of having eFlows. I touched on it when talking about my 7% saline dose. Did you catch it? When I receive a new shipment of colistin, PSI is nice enough to send me a new Trio head. Getting Foundation Care to send a new head was like pulling teeth – it was every 3rd shipment and the metal disc was all bubbly and clogged by then. To say I’m happy with PSI would be a great understatement.

The head is the workhorse of the device. It’s a nearly impermeable metal disc that has micro-holes in it that, when turned on and electrically charged to do its thing, only allows the liquid in the chamber to pass through the disc in a super-fine mist that is exponentially smaller than pneumatic nebulizers, thus getting the medicine into a finer breathing condition for treatment. It is not to be touched, or scrubbed, and has very specific care instructions. I believe a replacement head would cost something like $160 out of pocket. High technology!

As soon as I get a new head, I take the current head that I use for Albuterol and Pulmozyme and I mark it up with a Sharpie all over the plastic face and dash lines across the top so it then becomes my new “dirty head.” This now becomes the head that I use for 7% saline (Hyper-Sal) and my colistin, because those are both gooier formulations that take a greater toll on the head.

I’ve learned over the years that using the same head for all the meds really shortens the life, too. I’d bet that just splitting the treatments between two heads regardless of the meds would have the same effect, but I’m absolutely certain that these two meds will destroy a head faster than Albuterol and Pulmozyme.

Why? Because the end of its time as the “clean head” is still a good time with nearly new-like dispersal times and a shiny demeanor sunny disposition nice shine. If I happen to double the time it’s used as the “clean head,” it will still look that way. By the time it’s done as a “dirty head,” it has a sanded. rather than shiny, look. Closer inspection reveals some little bubbles in the surface, and the dispersion time is about double that of the beginning of the month. This is particularly true when it’s pulling double duty when it’s an on-month for the every other month colistin.

So, the moral of the story is: if you want to blast through your treatments as fast as possible when you have gooey meds in your lineup, use an old head that still works like new for just those meds.

clean-head
dirty-head
old-dirty-head


It looks like I need a better camera with macro capabilities to take these close-up photos… sorry.

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