Saturday, October 15, 2022
HomeWhat Does A Nebulizer Do For Asthma

What Does A Nebulizer Do For Asthma

What Does A Nebulizer Do

Nebulizers are quite popular and relatively great for delivering asthma medications to young children and infants.

They also accommodate when a larger dose of medication is required for inhalation or if the child has trouble using a traditional asthma inhaler.

Furthermore, nebulizers can be used with various medications for quick relief while controlling asthma symptoms. The medicines one can use with a nebulizer include:

  • Bronchodilators for opening the airways
  • Corticosteroid for relieving inflammation

Nebulizers can further be classified by their functional principle into three types:

Nozzle Nebulizer

Compressor or nozzle nebulizers work through a compressor generating compressed air. Air flows through medicinal solution atomizing into tiny droplets.

Ultrasonic Nebulizer

Ultrasonic nebulizers use a piezo-electric vibrator to emit high-frequency vibrations .

These vibrations are transported across the water tank, enveloping the medication with the water serving as a coolant.

These intense vibrations help in generating liquid medication columns by producing smaller particles.

Mesh Nebulizer

The mesh nebulizer comprises a thin membrane that has minute holes in it. A vibrating element helps push the nebulizer medication through these tiny membrane holes.

This ultimately generates tiny droplets like an aerosol. The mesh nebulizer is also very lightweight and quiet. Therefore, they are perfect for traveling, especially with children.

Common Questions About Salbutamol Inhalers

Salbutamol is a type of medicine called a bronchodilator. It works by relaxing the muscles of the airways into the lungs, which makes it easier to breathe.

When you have a puff of your salbutamol inhaler it works almost straight away to make your breathing easier. It carries on working for about 5 hours.

Most people will use salbutamol for many years. Once your breathing is better, it may be possible for you or your child to use salbutamol less often. But you should always have your salbutamol inhaler with you so you can use it as soon as you have breathing problems.

Do not stop taking salbutamol unless your doctor tells you to. If you stop taking salbutamol your breathing problems could get worse. Even if you only have to use salbutamol occasionally, keep your inhaler with you all the time in case you have a sudden attack.

Salbutamol is a type of medicine called a bronchodilator.

Almost everyone who has asthma or COPD is prescribed a bronchodilator inhaler or reliever inhaler to help their breathing.

There are 2 main bronchodilators:

  • salbutamol

What Is A Nebulizer And How Does It Work

A nebulizer is a type of medical equipment that is used to administer the medication directly and quickly to the lungs of a person with severe respiratory conditions like asthma.

The electrical compressor is often mistakenly referred to as a nebulizer, which is incorrect. The nebulizer is the plastic bowl chamber , into which a liquid drug or solution is dispensed. Compressed air is then forced along the tube to the nebulizer chamber, where it is converted into fine mist, which can be inhaled via a mouthpiece or facemask. By this way, the lungs and the respiratory system can get the medicine directly and more efficiently.

Who Uses Nebulizers?

Nebulization is usually recommended when a person finds difficulty while using an inhaler or in a condition where the person needs to inhale large dose of medicines directly into the lungs. Heres why people choose nebulizer over inhalers.

It is usually prescribed for people with one or more of the following lung disorders:

Nebulizers are also used for treating common cough symptoms

While nebulizers are usually recommended to people with chronic illness, it may also be used to relieve coughs and other symptoms caused by respiratory illnesses. However, it is highly recommended to consult a doctor before using it.

There are different types of nebulizers:

  • Jet Nebulizers
  • How To Clean A Nebulizer Machine

    Properly cleaning a nebulizer is an essential part of owning and using one. Seventy percent of nebulizers used by children with cystic fibrosis are contaminated with microorganisms, according to a study in the BMC Pulmonary Medicine journal. Regular cleanings help keep dirt and bacteria out of the nebulizer, which can be harmful if inhaled. To properly clean a nebulizer, follow these steps:

  • Wash the nebulizer cup and mask or mouthpiece after each use with warm, soapy water.
  • Air dry these components before using them again.
  •  To disinfect a nebulizer, which should be done every three days or so, follow these steps:

  • First, prepare the disinfectant solution that came with your nebulizer, or mix one part vinegar with three parts water.
  • Then, soak the equipment in the solution for about 30 minutes. You do not need to clean the tubing that connects the compressor to the air compressor. 
  • Thoroughly wash the parts that were soaking in disinfectant with warm soap and water.
  • Air dry completely before using it again. 
  • Chapter 33: How Many Times A Day Can I Safely Use My Bronchodilator Inhaler

    What is a Nebulizer Machine and What Does It Do?

    Bronchodilators are medications that relieve asthma symptoms by causing the muscles that surround the airways to relax, thereby opening the breathing passageways. Commonly used bronchodilator inhalers are albuterol , metaproterenol , and pirbuterol .

    The medications in all of these bronchodilator inhalers are said to work for about 4-6 hours after you use them. Therefore, the simple answer to the question above is that it is safe to use these inhalers 4-6 times per day.

    is the exception. Its effect lasts for approximately 12 hours and, therefore, should not be used more than twice per day. The remarks that follow doNOT pertain to salmeterol. Salmeterol should never be used for quick relief of symptoms of asthma.)

    The situation changes when asthma flares up and you are having an attack. If you have ever been to the Emergency Department of a hospital for your asthma, you know that bronchodilator medications can be given safely as often as every 20 minutes for quick relief of an asthma attack. The same is true at home. If you are having worsened asthma symptoms and need quick relief, you can safely use your inhaler as often as every 30-60 minutes for 2-3 hours without significant risk of harmful side effects. In particular, unless you have a known serious heart condition, there is no danger to your heart when using bronchodilator inhalers with this frequency for a short period of time.

    Let us know your thoughts on Breath of Fresh Air! Partners Asthma Center

    Where To Get Nebulization Therapy

    When you need nebulizer treatments or immediate assistance for a non-life-threatening breathing problem due to asthma, COPD, or other lung diseases, your FastMed team is available to help. Were open extended hours on weekdays, weekends, and holidays.

    Whether you need on-site nebulizer therapy or a prescription for home nebulizer medication, our qualified professionals are here for you with no appointment necessary. Just walk into one of our convenient clinics or check in online beforehand. Our clinical team will make sure you get the nebulization therapy you need when you need it.

    * The content presented on this page is not intended to diagnose health problems or take the place of professional medical care.

    Chapter 38: Does Everyone With Asthma Need A Home Compressor And Nebulizer To Deliver Bronchodilator Medications In A Emergency

    A. If you have ever had a severe attack of asthma that required urgent care in a doctors office or emergency department of a hospital, you have probably been treated with nebulized bronchodilators. A nebulizer takes a liquid solution of medication and transforms it into a fine mist for inhalation. For an acute asthmatic attack, the medication most often used is albuterol . Nebulized albuterol works as well as the injections of adrenaline that used to be standard emergency room treatment for acute, severe asthma.

    Nebulizer systems are available for use at home. They can be rented from respiratory home-care companies or purchased at many pharmacies for about $120. In the home system, the nebulizer is driven by compressed air. The compressor runs on electricity and is about half the size of a toaster oven. Battery-operated systems are available but are considerably more expensive. The medication to be nebulized, such as albuterol solution, requires a prescription from your physician.

    Let us know your thoughts on Breath of Fresh Air! Partners Asthma Center

    What Conditions Can I Use A Nebulized Therapy For

    There are a number of respiratory conditions that you can use nebulizers for. Whether they are chronic or acute, a nebulizer can help reduce inflammation in your airways and open them up so that you can breathe better. You can use nebulizers for COPD, asthma, allergies, and more.

    Here is a non-exhaustive list of the conditions you can use a portable nebulizer machine for:

    • Allergies

    Your doctor can help you determine whether breathing nebulizers would be beneficial for your condition.

    Who Are Nebulizers For

    Theoretically, nebulizers are interchangeable with inhalers, meaning they deliver the same medication to the same place in people with respiratory conditions, says Dr. Horovitz.

    In reality, nebulizers may be best suited for people who have trouble using an inhaler.

    “A study came out that said an inhaler works as well as a nebulizer, but sometimes when people are tired of coughing or don’t have a good inspiratory capacity, a nebulizer is a better choice,” says Dr. Mora.

    People with muscular issues or other physical limitations may not be able to depress the inhaler enough to actually release medication. Coordination also plays a role, says Gary Stadtmauer, MD, an allergy and asthma specialist in New York City who is also affiliated with Mount Sinai Medical Center.

    In both of those cases, a nebulizer is a more effective solution.

    “Everyone breaths,” he explains. “A parent could hold a nebulizer to a child’s face. The same thing does for someone who’s elderly.”

    Do People With Asthma Face A Higher Risk Of Severe Illness If They Get Covid

    Theres a lot we still dont know about COVID-19 and how it affects asthma patients.

    Based on the data we have so far, asthma does not appear to increase the risk of acquiring COVID-19. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does list chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma under groups at higher risk for severe illness if they get COVID-19.

    Its important to understand what severe illness means.

    One complication from COVID-19 is acute respiratory distress syndrome, a severe lung disease that results from damage to the alveoli, the air sacs of the lungs. When COVID-19 patients require ventilators, its often for acute respiratory distress syndrome. We dont know very much about the risk factors for developing acute respiratory distress syndrome or how to treat the specific type of inflammation that drives this condition, but there is no evidence that asthma is a risk factor for developing acute respiratory distress syndrome if infected with COVID-19.

    In contrast to acute respiratory distress syndrome, asthma is a chronic condition that we know a lot about. It is characterized by airway inflammation, mucous production and airway spasm. Respiratory viruses, including strains of coronavirus that cause the common cold, can trigger asthma symptoms, and its likely that COVID-19 could do the same. Even though asthma is also an inflammatory condition, in contrast to acute respiratory distress syndrome, we have very effective treatments for asthma.

    Does It Work Like An Inhaler

    The concept of an inhaler and a nebulizer is the same. They both work to deliver treatment directly into the lungs. In terms of function, a portable nebulizer works similarly to an inhaler. However, some differences in usage differentiate the two.

    The most common type of inhaler involves inhaling a given amount of medication using a mouthpiece. The spacers in inhalers make it easy for patients to inhale the required amount of medication.

    The main difference between an inhaler and a nebulizer is that a nebulizer is easier to use. It delivers medication easier compared to an inhaler. However, the user has to sit still for about 10 minutes for the medication to be dispensed.

    Whilst there are portable nebulizers, they are relatively larger than inhalers, thus, making them difficult to carry around.

    Nebulizer For Cystic Fibrosis

    Managing cystic fibrosis often requires several inhaled medications to be used in combination with each other in order to increase the function of the lungs. A nebulizer is an invaluable medical device for patients who require several medicines in treatment. Patients with CF typically require bronchodilators, hypertonic saline, steroids, and antibiotics. It’s also important to note that using a nebulizer that can be easily cleaned and disinfected is crucial for patients suffering from CF, as they are much more susceptible to germs. Vibrating mesh nebulizers are perfect for this, as they do not include tubes and challenging to clean components. 


    Deciding To Use A Nebulizer

    What is a nebulizer? Who needs one and why

    Before deciding whether using a nebulizer is right for you and choosing which type you’ll use, discuss your condition and medical needs with your doctor. Factors such as cost and convenience should also be considered.

    In addition to supporting children and older adults with treatment, nebulizers are sometimes preferred for other reasons, but there are disadvantages to using a nebulizer too.

    • Takes longer: Time for prepping and inhaling can be 15+ minutes versus ~1 minute for inhalers.

    • Less convenient: Bulky machine may need to be plugged, whereas an inhaler is pocket-size.

    • More expensive

    What Is A Nebulizer Used For And What Conditions Does It Address

    A nebulizer treats various lung conditions, including COPD and asthma, explains Darren Mareiniss, MD, assistant professor of emergency medicine at Sidney Kimmel Medical CollegeThomas Jefferson University.

    COPD is a chronic condition that can cause symptoms like shortness of breath, fatigue, and a chronic cough. Its the third leading cause of death in the United States and anywhere from 16 to 24 million people have it.

    Typically this causes a combination of small airway disease and destruction of lung tissue , Dr. Mareiniss says.

    The most common cause of COPD is exposure to noxious particles like air pollution, dust, fumes, workplace chemicals, or cigarette smoke. Although anyone can get COPD, even non-smokers, cigarettes are responsible for about 90 percent of cases.

    Asthma is a chronic inflammation of the lungs that can result in a spasm of the airways, or bronchioles, in reaction to allergens or other triggers, like cold air or exercise.

    In asthma attacks, this spasm and constriction of the air passages of the lungs limits the patients ability to breathe, Dr. Mareiniss says.

    It can also lead to recurrent episodes of wheezing, chest tightness, and cough.

    People with other conditions may also need nebulizers, including those with chronic bronchitis or emphysema ; the flu; and even Covid-19.

    What Else Should I Do To Stay Healthy

    Asthma care is individualized, and I recommend that asthma patients check in with their health care providers to make sure they are using daily controller medications correctly have a plan in place in case asthma symptoms worsen. Keep a 30-day supply of your usual medications, but dont stockpile medications, which can lead to shortages.

    At this point, most people are aware of the CDCs recommendations on how to protect yourself, including social isolation, hand hygiene and disinfecting surfaces. I would add one more pay attention to your mental health, too.

    When I asked one patient whether she had experienced asthma symptoms recently, her response was that she was hyperventilating at times just sitting and watching the news. She knew it was time to turn off the TV.

    Its a stressful time. Getting good sleep and being kind to yourself and others is more important than ever.

    S. Cindi Xi, MD, is an allergist and immunologist at the USC Asthma, Allergy and Clinical Immunology Center at Keck Medicine of USC and is a clinical assistant professor of medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

    This article was originally published on The Conversation on April 9, 2020.

    When To Use A Vaporizer Humidifier Or Nebulizer

    When choosing between a nebulizer, humidifier, or vaporizer, knowing their purpose and capabilities is essential. Among other things, each device will reduce discomfort; this includes skin dryness, a dry nose, or prickly throat.

    These devices also make it easier to breathe by reducing nasal congestion. Here are some pointers on when to use a nebulizer, humidifier, or vaporizer:

    During Allergies

    The most common symptom of allergy is congestion in the nose or chest. Therefore, humidifiers and vaporizers help increase the humidity in the air by adding moisture.

    Inhaling moist air can help reduce the stuffiness in your nose and provide relief to your irritated sinus.

    However, using these devices also comes along with certain precautions. If the humidity level is set too high, it can result in mold and dust mites, which are the most prevalent triggers for allergies.

    Similarly, lower humidity is also harmful; therefore, it is best to achieve the optimum level.

    However, according to the American Academy of Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology, people with indoor allergies must first consult their doctors before buying any humidifier.

    A vaporizer, however, is a better option for someone who has indoor allergies since the mist they create is heated, lowering the presence of contaminants is lowered.

    Asthmatic Problems

    Much like someone with allergies, a person with asthma should also be cautious when using a humidifier or vaporizer.

    What Are The Dangers Of Using A Nebulizer

    Though nebulizers can be beneficial in treating respiratory diseases, they can also be dangerous. Overuse can lead to cardiac and nervous system issues and cause the patient to become psychologically dependent. There are dangers of the nebulizer falling into the hands of teenagers who will use it to inhale alcohol. Also, if you do not properly clean your nebulizer it will attract bacteria and mold and could lead to more respiratory infections.

    If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

    What Should I Do To Protect Myself

    Get your asthma under control and maintain that control. I cannot stress that enough. That means staying on your usual medications.

    At the first onset of respiratory symptoms, asthma patients should follow their individualized asthma action plan and contact their health care provider to see if additional treatments are necessary to prevent symptoms from worsening.

    How Do You Use A Nebulizer

    A nebulizer consists of the nebulizer machine, tubing, medicine cup, and mouthpiece or mask. The NIHs National Asthma Education and Prevention Program encourages people to follow the manufacturers instructions.

    However, the offer the following steps to set up and use a nebulizer:

  • Wash hands well.
  • Put together the nebulizer machine, tubing, medicine cup, and mouthpiece or mask according to manufacturers instructions.
  • Put the prescribed amount of medicine into the medicine cup. If your medicine comes in a pre-measured capsule or vial, empty it into the cup.
  • Place the mouthpiece in your mouth and close your lips around it to form a tight seal. If your child uses a mask, make sure it fits snugly over your childs nose and mouth. Never hold the mouthpiece or mask away from the face.
  • Turn on the nebulizer machine. You should see a light mist coming from the back of the tube opposite the mouthpiece or from the mask.
  • Take normal breaths through the mouth while the machine is on. Continue treatment until the medicine cup is empty or the mist stops, about 10 minutes.
  • Take the mouthpiece out of your mouth and turn off the machine.
  • If using an inhaled corticosteroid, rinse mouth with water and spit it out. If using a mask, also wash the face.
  • Breathing Treatments For Copd

    COPD is a group of inflammatory lung diseases that restrict airflow to the lungs. and chronic bronchitis are two of the most common types of COPD.

    Bronchodilators and corticosteroids are two common breathing treatments for COPD. Bronchodilators help open up your airways. Corticosteroids reduce inflammation. Theyre often used together in COPD treatment.

    Both bronchodilators and corticosteroids can be taken through either an inhaler or nebulizer. While some studies suggest that nebulizers may be more effective at treating COPD symptoms, there isnt enough evidence to say that one is better than the other.

    Theres some that combining nebulizer treatments during the morning and evening with midday inhaler use may be a better treatment option for COPD.

    Other treatments for COPD include:

    • heart palpitations

    However, albuterol may have fewer side effects when taken through an inhaler.

    Nebulizers are often used in an emergency setting because they deliver the medication faster. They can also increase some side effects, such as anxiety and tremor.

    Ask your doctor about any possible side effects before you start a breathing treatment. They may be able to offer tips on ways you can reduce them.

    When You Should Pack Your Portable Nebulizer

    What Is a Nebulizer?

    The last thing you want is to be without your breathing treatment when you need it most. If you plan on traveling on an airplane and any of these situations apply to you, then you should pack your portable nebulizer in your luggage.

    • You recently had a flare-up: If you have recently had a flare-up of your COPD or asthma or other chronic respiratory condition, it would be wise of you to bring your portable nebulizer machine. This will ensure that you have access to treatment when you need it most.
    • The time of year: If you know that you are susceptible to breathing symptoms during a certain time of year, you should take your treatment with you anytime you travel during that time.
    • You will be gone for an extended time: An extended time can vary from person to person and how often they normally use treatment. If you regularly use your nebulizer for breathing treatments, you should consider bringing it.


    You should always air on the side of caution and bring your nebulizer if you think you will need it. Even if you do not end up using it, it is better to be safe than sorry.

    What Should I Know About Storage And Disposal Of This Medication

    Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Keep unused vials of nebulizer solution in the foil pouch until you are ready to use them. Store nebulizer solution vials in the refrigerator or at room temperature away from excess heat and moisture . Store the the inhaler at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture . Do not puncture the aerosol canister, and do not discard it in an incinerator or fire.

    Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDAs Safe Disposal of Medicines website for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.

    It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach.

    Are Nebulizers Ok To Use At Home

    Sometimes patients have difficulty using handheld inhalers and instead use nebulizers, which turn liquid medicine into a mist. Particularly when the patient is experiencing severe asthma symptoms, nebulizers can be more effective at delivering medication slowly into the airways.

    The current concern about nebulizers is that if they are used by a patient with a respiratory infection, the nebulizer could aerosolize droplets containing virus, allowing the virus to stay in the air longer. Hospitals and other facilities are being advised to reduce their use of nebulizers to reduce spread of the new coronavirus.

    If an asthma patient finds that nebulized therapy is more effective than inhalers, the nebulizer should be used in a room that is isolated from other household members.

    How To Administer A Breathing Treatment

    For parents or caregivers who have to administer a nebulizer treatment to a child or someone else, many of the steps are the same as above: 

  • First, make sure that the nebulizer is on a flat surface that will support its weight.
  • Plug the nebulizers cord into an outlet.
  • Always wash and dry your hands, so no dirt or bacteria gets into the nebulizer.
  • Remove the top of the nebulizer.
  • Next, insert your medication into the machines holding chamber.  
  • Connect the nebulizers tube to the liquid container.
  • Attach the mouthpiece/mask.
  • Turn the nebulizer on and make sure that the medication flows properly.
  • Then, have the patient sit up straight. 
  • Hold the mask up to the nose and mouth of the person receiving the treatment. Secure the mask snugly over the nose and mouth, making sure there are no gaps. You might have to hold the mask in place for someone while the nebulizer runs. 
  • Make sure that the person youre assisting breathes in and out slowly until all of the medication is gone.
  • Remove the mouthpiece/mask and turn off the nebulizer. 
  • Wash and dry your hands again.
  • Finally, clean the machine.
  • Administering a nebulizer treatment for babies can be difficult because of how often they move around. Waiting until the baby is sleeping can be a great way to make sure the nebulizer treatment goes more smoothly. Some machines even have a pacifier attachment that makes administering a breathing treatment easier. 


    Most Popular