An incentive spirometer is a device used to help you keep your lungs healthy after surgery or when you have a lung illness, such as pneumonia. Using the incentive spirometer teaches you how to take slow deep breaths.
Deep breathing keeps your lungs well-inflated and healthy while you heal and helps prevent lung problems, like pneumonia.
Lung complications - incentive spirometer; Pneumonia - incentive spirometer
How to use an Incentive Spirometer
Many people feel weak and sore after surgery and taking big breaths can be uncomfortable. A device called an incentive spirometer can help you take deep breaths correctly.
By using the incentive spirometer every 1 to 2 hours, or as instructed by your nurse or doctor, you can take an active role in your recovery and keep your lungs healthy.
To use the spirometer:
- Sit up and hold the device.
- Place the mouthpiece spirometer in your mouth. Make sure you make a good seal over the mouthpiece with your lips.
- Breathe out (exhale) normally.
- Breathe in (inhale) SLOWLY.
A piece in the incentive spirometer will rise as you breathe in.
- Try to get this piece to rise as high as you can.
- Usually, there is a marker placed by your doctor that tells you how big of a breath you should take.
A smaller piece in the spirometer looks like a ball or disc.
- Your goal should be to make sure this ball stays in the middle of the chamber while you breathe in.
- If you breathe in too fast, the ball will shoot to the top.
- If you breathe in too slowly, the ball will stay at the bottom.
Hold your breath for 3 to 5 seconds. Then slowly exhale.
Take 10 to 15 breaths with your spirometer every 1 to 2 hours, or as often as instructed by your nurse or doctor.