What is a nebulizer?

A nebulizer is a medical device for inhalation using ultra-low dispersed dispersion of the drug substance. Such devices are divided into types that differ in functionality, the principle of operation, ease of use and cost. Each type of nebulizer has a number of advantages and disadvantages, as well as indications and contraindications. In addition, some companies produce nebulizers for children that resemble entertainment toys.

What does “nebulizer” mean?

This term appeared in 1865 from the verb “nebulize” (“to reduce to a mist or spray”) from Latin “nebula” (“mist”).

What is the purpose of using a nebulizer?

Using this device helps to easy to influence specific areas (upper, lower, middle) of the respiratory system. It becomes possible to form an increased density of the working substance in these areas, which allows obtaining a tangible therapeutic effect with minimal side effects.

How does a nebulizer work?

The mechanism of action of a nebulizer machine is based on dispersed spraying of a medicinal product, which is fed through a mask or breathing tube to a patient. Due to the fact that the substance is sprayed on ultra-small particles, the drug enters all parts of the respiratory system and is quickly absorbed. A breathing tube (mouthpiece) is more preferable since a smaller amount of the drug is lost in the nasal cavity.

When to use a nebulizer?

Inhalations through a nebulizer are prescribed for the following indications: ENT diseases in various stages (laryngitis, rhinitis, sinusitis, etc.), bronchitis, tracheitis, pneumonia, bronchial asthma, COPD, fungal lesions of the VDP, cystic fibrosis, tuberculosis of various etiologies, prevention of postoperative complications. The list is not exhaustive.

Are there any contraindications to the use of a nebulizer?

Contraindications to the use of a nebulizer are allergies to a particular drug, pulmonary hemorrhages, spontaneous pneumothorax, lung emphysema, bronchial asthma with respiratory failure heavier than stage II, cerebral circulation disorders and some other serious conditions (eg. cerebral atherosclerosis), intoxication accompanied by an increase in body temperature above 100 degrees F.

Is it safe to use a nebulizer?

Nebulizer therapy is the safest method of inhalation therapy since it does not use propellants (solvents or carrier gases), unlike metering aerosol inhalers.

How to use a nebulizer?

A nebulizer is the best inhaler for home use since inhalation with its use does not require any special skills. A patient needs to follow the instructions attached to the device. Different models may vary the equipment, but the sequence of actions is approximately the same.

  1. Wash your hands prior to making each inhalation;
  2. Before the procedure, you need to disinfect the mask or mouthpiece in order to avoid infection transmission. Disinfection is carried out using a 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide or by boiling;
  3. Poor the drug into the compartment of the nebulizer chamber in accordance with the exact recommendations of the attending physician;
  4. Attach a mouthpiece to the nebulizer;
  5. Check the presence of the filter and the degree of its purity (the filter must not be gray, otherwise it must be replaced);
  6. Connect the device to the mains;
  7. To start the procedure, you must click on the switch;
  8. Hold the nebulizer in an upright position;
  9. When conducting inhalation, you can breathe in your usual mode;
  10. After the procedure, disconnect all removable elements, free the spacer from the remnants of the medicine, wash and dry it.

When using a nebulizer, it is forbidden to use solutions for inhalation that are not intended for this purpose. These include mineral water, cough syrups, decoctions of herbs, oil solutions, chloropyramine solutions, etc.

How to clean a nebulizer?

Disinfection must be carried out once a week:

  1. Turn off the compressor, disconnect the nebulizer and take it apart;
  2. Wash all parts of the device with hot water or 15% baking soda solution. Do not use brushes;
  3. Sterilize the nebulizer in a disassembled form in a steam sterilizer. Or you can sterilize it by boiling for at least 10 minutes;
  4. Dry the device and store it in a clean napkin or towel.

What are the types of nebulizer?

Today, there are three main several types of nebulizers:

  1. Compressor. This device delivers a powerful stream of air through a nebulizer chamber filled with an inhalation solution. Due to this, the drug is sprayed;
  2. Ultrasonic. High-Frequency ultrasound affects the drug. Therefore, one cannot use antibiotics, mucolytics, etc.;
  3. Mesh nebulizer. Such devices are the most efficient and compact. They are characterized by a unique low-frequency spray. The working element is a membrane with pushes medication through fine holes in the mesh, generating aerosol droplets. There are practically no restrictions in drugs: antibiotics, hormonal preparations, decoctions of herbs, ether-containing solutions and so on.

The nebulizer can be both home and portable. The latter can easily fit with a bag or backpack, so you can take them with you.

What are the benefits of a nebulizer?

Nebulizer therapy has advantages over other types of inhalation therapy:

  • It can be used at any age since the patient is not required to adjust his or her breath to the operation of the device and at the same time perform some actions, for example, press the spray can, hold the inhaler, etc., which is especially important in infants;
  • No need to perform a strong breath allows the use of nebulizer therapy in cases of severe attacks of asthma, as well as in patients in old age;
  • It allows the use of drugs in effective doses in the absence of side effects;
  • This therapy provides a continuous and quick supply of medication using a compressor;
  • It is the safest method of inhalation therapy since it does not use propellants (solvents or carrier gases), as opposed to dosing aerosol inhalers;
  • This is a modern and comfortable method of treating bronchopulmonary diseases in children and adults.

Is nebulizer safe for babies?

Doctors allow the use of nebulizers in infants from the very first days of life. The devices are safe and effective in treating colds in babies. There are also convenient tips for children under one year of age – a mouthpiece, a nose tip, a small face mask. The design of the aerosols will delight the little kids, they are made in the form of toys – machines or animals that turn the healing process into a game.

Is nebulizer better than inhaler?

The nebulizer is a subtype of inhalers. Using a nebulizer, you can more accurately affect certain parts of the respiratory system (upper, middle or lower).

Let us take a look at the “Nebulizer vs Inhaler” table and analyze the main differences between these devices:

Inhaler Nebulizer
Used for steam inhalation Used to convert liquid drugs into suspended particles (administered through a drip method)
Medicines heat up to steam Therapeutic agents become the smallest aerosol under the influence of ultrasound, compressor or membrane
Delivers drugs primarily to the upper respiratory system Provides medication in any part of the respiratory system, including the lower respiratory tract
Herbal decoctions, homeopathic preparations and oils can be used for the procedures The use of decoctions of herbs and oils is prohibited
Suitable for the treatment of common colds and ARVI in a mild form Prescribed for the treatment of complex diseases of the respiratory tract, for example, bronchial asthma or acute bronchitis
The use in early childhood can be dangerous due to hot steam Safe to use from birth
Not used for treatment with antibiotics, mucolytics, hormonal and other drugs Delivers bronchodilators, antibiotics, mucolytics, hormones and others to the bronchi and lungs in liquid form

Can you use a nebulizer at home?

Yes, there are models that can be used at home. You should definitely purchase them:

  • if your child is prone to frequent colds, bronchitis (including those that occur with the broncho-obstructive syndrome);
  • for complex treatment of cough with difficult separating sputum, treatment of stenosis;
  • if some members of your family have chronic or often recurrent bronchopulmonary diseases (bronchial asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic bronchitis, cystic fibrosis).

What are the side effects of using a nebulizer?

Deep breathing during inhalation can cause symptoms of hyperventilation (dizziness, nausea, cough). In this case, you should stop inhalation, breathe through the nose and calm down. When the symptoms of hyperventilation disappear, inhalation can be continued. Also, coughing may occur as a reaction to the sprayed solution. In this case, it is also recommended to stop inhalation for several minutes.

What is ipratropium nebulizer used for?

Ipratropium is used to control and prevent wheezing and shortness of breath caused by lung disease (bronchitis and emphysema). It works by relaxing the muscles around the airways so that they widen and a person can breathe more easily.

What does a nebulizer do for bronchitis?

Nebulizer inhalation with bronchitis provides direct delivery of the drug in the bronchi. The high concentration of drugs and the possibility of uniform distribution of the fine air mixture in the bronchi allow quickly alleviate the patient’s health. In case of bronchitis, the following drugs can be used for inhalation therapy with a nebulizer: bronchodilator drugs, medicines to facilitate the discharge of sputum, antibacterial agents, antiseptics.

Which medicine is used in a nebulizer?

Nebulizers can be used to deliver the following medication:

  • mucolytics and mucoregulators (preparations for thinning sputum and improving expectoration): ambroxol, acetylcysteine;
  • bronchodilators (drugs that expand the bronchi): Berodual, Ventolin, Salbutamol, Fenoterol;
  • glucocorticoids (hormones that have a multilateral action, primarily anti-inflammatory and anti-edematous): Pulmicort (suspension for nebulizers);
  • cromones (antiallergic drugs, mast cell membrane stabilizers): cromoglicic acid;
  • antibiotics: acetylcysteine;
  • alkaline and salt solutions: 0.9% saline, mineral water.

Do not self-medicate. A doctor must select the proper drug for your case and control the effectiveness of treatment.

How often to use a nebulizer?

The most common inhalation regimen is twice a day. Certain medicines are used three times a day. If you need to use saline or mineral water, the frequency can be increased up to 4 times. The course of inhalation is prescribed by a doctor depending on the medication used and is limited to 5-15 days. For example, inhalation of ambroxol is limited to 5 days, and the procedure with mineral compounds is continued until the symptoms of the disease disappear.

How often can you give albuterol nebulizer treatments?

The number of inhalations per day depends on the severity of the disease. During the exacerbation period, the patient usually inhales albuterol 3-4 times a day, during remission – 1-2 times a day or as required. In severe exacerbations of asthma, frequent inhalations of albuterol are recommended – every 20 minutes during the first hour (up to permanent nebulization), then – with an interval of 1 hour before until the attack is stopped.

Do you need a prescription for a nebulizer?

Yes. Nebulizers are prescribed by a licensed doctor. Self-medication can be dangerous.

Can you use inhaler and nebulizer at the same time?

These devices are used for the same purpose, so doctors usually prescribe either inhaler or nebulizer therapy. Do not use these devices simultaneously, unless recommended by a doctor.

What is the best nebulizer?

Below you can see a list of the best nebulizers 2019:

  • Dr Trust Bestest Compressor Nebulizer Machine
  • Respironics Inspiration Elite Compressor Nebulizer Kit & Back-up
  • Intelligent Mesh Nebulizer from Briutcare with Free Carrying Case
  • MedQuip Airial Compact Compressor Nebulizer System
  • Invacare Stratos Compact Irc1710 Aerosol Compressor With Nebulizer Kit
  • Omron Micro-Air Electronic Nebulizer with V.M.T.
  • Pari Trek S Portable Compressor Nebulizer Aerosol System
  • Respironics InnoSpire Essence Compressor Nebulizer System
  • Medneb Compressor Nebulizer
  • DeVilbiss Traveler Portable Compressor Nebulizer System
  • Medline Aeromist Compact Nebulizer Compressor

How much does a nebulizer cost?

The price of the device consists of the brand name and technical characteristics. Home nebulizers usually cost at least $50. Portable devices are usually cheaper.

Is a nebulizer covered by Medicaid?

Yes, nebulizer machines are covered by Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurances under durable medical equipment, so you can even get them for free.