The Acapella is a small hand-held device that combines both back pressure and vibrations to help clear mucus from the lungs.
How to do a Acapella Treatment
- Set the dial on the end of the device to a number which gives you a comfortable breath when exhaling.
- Sit with your elbows resting on a table or sit upright.
- Take a deep breath in.
- Place the mouthpiece between your teeth and make a tight seal around the mouthpiece with your lips.
- Hold your breath for 2-3 seconds.
- Blow out slowly and forcefully into the Acapella. Keep your cheeks hard and flat while you are breathing out.
- During the time you are breathing out, you will feel a “fluttering” sensation in your neck and lungs. If you put your hand on your chest while exhaling, you should feel the vibrations. If you do not feel vibrations on your chest, blow out with more force.
- Breathe out 3 to 4 times as long as you breathe in.
- Keep taking slow deep breaths while breathing out through your Acapella valve for about 5 minutes or 20 breaths.
- Remove the mouthpiece and cough or “huff cough”.
To huff cough, take a deep breath. Hold it for 1-3 seconds. Then, force air out of your lungs with your mouth open like you would do if you were trying to fog a mirror.
- Continue breathing with the Acapella with breaks to cough about every 5 minutes for a total treatment time of 20 – 30 minutes.
- It is very important to pace yourself as you breathe out into the Acapella device. Pause for a few seconds between breaths. If you feel dizzy or get a headache while doing the Acapella, stop and breathe normally. Finish your Acapella treatment at a slower pace.
- After doing an Acapella treatment, it very important to remove the mouthpiece and open the device to air dry between uses. Air drying will help prevent germs from growing inside the Acapella. There is a round metal disc inside the Acapella which should be dried to prevent rusting.
- Your doctor has ordered the therapy ______ times per day.
Using the Acapella with Your Nebulizer
Your Acapella can be used at the same time you are doing your nebulizer treatment. Follow the set-up picture below. You must take breaths in through the Acapella mouthpiece to get medicine into your lungs.
Cleaning the Acapella
The Acapella should be cleaned twice weekly or more often if it is visibly soiled. One of two methods can be used to clean your Acapella.
- Remove the mouthpiece from the Acapella
- Place both pieces of the Acapella on the top shelf of the dishwasher and wash with your dishwasher soap.
Or if you do not own a dishwasher, you can
- Wash both parts of the Acapella in warm, soapy dishwater for five minutes.
- Rinse the parts. Place the parts in a bowl with enough rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) to cover the Acapella. Soak the Acapella device in alcohol for five minutes.
- Remove the Acapella from the bowl and rinse with sterile water. DO NOT USE WATER FROM THE FAUCET, BOTTLED, OR DISTILLED WATER. You can make water sterile by boiling it for five minutes. Use this water once and then throw it out.
- Drain the Acapella by turning the unit upside down.
- Place the Acapella on a clean paper towel to dry, leaving it open until next use.
Cleaning your Nebulizer
If you are using the Acapella with a nebulizer, please clean your nebulizer at the same time that you clean your Acapella. Please refer to the Nebulizer for Respiratory Therapy Health Facts for You #6922 for nebulizer cleaning instructions
If you have questions or need supplies contact UW Home Health at (608) 203-2273.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 06/20/2012
Copyright © 06/20/2012 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6006
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