Nebulizers – Types, Benefits and Uses

Nowadays, there is a significant increase in respiratory system diseases.

Diagnoses such as asthma, hay fever, acute and chronic bronchitis, pneumonia and others are increasingly being diagnosed. One of the main reasons for this increase is polluted air. Genetic factors and allergies also play a role in the development of such diseases.

The appropriate and modern method in the fight against respiratory diseases is inhalation. Inhalation is the direct inhalation of vapors and drugs in the form of an aerosol for therapeutic purposes. The device used to perform this procedure at home or in a hospital is called a nebulizer. With its help, liquid drugs are transformed into fine aerosol particles, which enter the lungs through a special mask or mouthpiece and perform their healing effect there.


What exactly are nebulizers?

A nebulizer is a device that transforms drugs from a liquid form into fine aerosol particles (steam), thus allowing them to be inhaled by the lungs. The converted particles are transported through a tube that is attached to a face mask or mouthpiece.

There are desktop models of inhalers that are powered by plugging it into an electrical outlet at home and portable models that are powered by batteries.

  Nebulizers are an extremely convenient device… all that is required of us is to put the mask on the nose and mouth and inhale the medicine. The time required for the drug particles to enter the lungs is 5 to 10 minutes.

There are currently different types of nebulizers on the market, but the lighter and quieter a nebulizer is, the more popular it is on the market.


Types of nebulizers:

The are several main types of nebulizers:

Ultrasonic nebulizers – They convert the drug solution into an aerosol by means of ultrasonic waves. They are quiet and suitable for use by children. The disadvantage of these devices is that ultrasound waves affect some of the drugs and thus reduce the effectiveness of therapy. Another disadvantage associated with this type of inhaler is that it can have a high residual volume.

Mesh nebulizers – Also known as membrane inhalers and are considered high-tech. Their work is based on a membrane with many tiny holes, which by means of high-frequency vibrations converts the drug solution into an aerosol. Among the main advantages of mesh nebulizers are that they have economical drug consumption, are compact and are convenient to carry. The disadvantage is the high price category in which it falls. 

Compressor nebulizers – With the help of a compressor, the drug solution is sprayed and the particles reach the respiratory system through an airstream. Its advantages are that it can use all types of drugs for respiratory therapy and is available in most pharmacies. The downside is that compression inhalers are usually larger and noisy, with a few exceptions. 


Why use a nebulizer? 

Nebulizers are especially good for inhalations in babies and young children. Respiratory diseases are especially common at this age.

Nebulizer therapy is also called aerosol therapy. The drugs we use range from plain saline to drugs to control asthma and inflammatory airways.


How to use a compressor nebulizer?

Before starting the nebulizer, we must make sure that all its parts are available:

  • Air compressor (appliance)
  • Compression tube
  • Inhalation cup
  • Mask or mouthpiece
  • Medicines (or single dose vials or measuring devices

The following steps are then performed:

  • Place the nebulizer on a flat, solid surface and plug it in.
  • Put the drugs in an inhalation cup, measuring the amount you need.
  • Assemble the inhalation cup with the mask or mouthpiece.
  • Connect the tube to both the aerosol compressor and the inhalation cup.
  • You turn on the compressor from the button to make sure it works properly. Steam will start coming out of the back of the pipe. Then you sit upright in a comfortable chair, and if you are helping a child inhaling, it is good to put them on your lap. You put the mask well on your face and nose and take deep breaths. If possible, it is good to hold your breath for 2-3 seconds before exhaling. This way, the drug gets into the airways properly. Continue for about 10 minutes until the noise of dusting stops.
  • Shake the cup if the medicine sticks to its walls.
  • Before each use of a new medicine, consult your doctor, who will prescribe the type, number and duration of inhalations. Do not prescribe inhalations yourself.


How to care for my nebulizer?

It is important to clean and disinfect the nebulizer and all its parts after each use to prevent infection. Clean it in a place away from smoke, dust and open windows.

Nebulizer cleaning instructions:

  • After each treatment, rinse the mask (or mouthpiece), tube and inhalation cup thoroughly with warm water, shake them and allow them to dry.
  • Before removing it, we must make sure that the parts are completely dry.
  • Carefully store all components in the bag
  • Store medicines in a cool, dry place. Some should be stored in the refrigerator and others should be stored in the light. Check them often. If they have changed color or formed crystals, discard them and replace them.

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