Benefits of a Nebulizer

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There are many ways to deliver medication to our bodies and depending on your personal circumstances and the nature of your illness your doctor may have recommended any one of these. If you suffer from bronchitis, asthma or one of many other conditions then your doctor may have recommended you a nebulizer or it may be one of several options. But what is a nebulizer, what are its benefits, and how does one differ from an inhaler? Here we will look at the benefits of a nebulizer and why you should use one.

Mechanism and Ease of Use

A nebulizer is a device that is very similar in design and purpose to an asthma inhaler, but is easier to use and slightly more relaxing. This then makes it preferable in some instances – for instance it is better for children and better for children, elderly patients, disabled individuals or those with diseases that make using their hands and taking deep breaths impossible. What makes it easier is the way the nebulizer works which doesn’t require the same breath/hand coordination as an inhaler. A nebulizer essentially works by connecting tubes to a compressed air source. When it is operated the oxygen and air are blasted through the stored liquid medicine at high speed and then inhaled by the individual. As the air passes through the liquid it will create aerosol that contains the medication needed.

Unlike the inhaler then you are not required to suck in one big drag and do not need to push down as hard. You will usually use a mouthpiece and mask and will fasten this on before plugging the tube into the nebulizer. Once it is attached it will begin to dispel the aerosol into the mask and you will then simply breathe this until the mist is gone. The nebulizer automatically gives you the correct dosage of medication so you can breathe calmly and normally through the mask and you will be guaranteed to have the correct amount of air. This makes it passive and it also means that a parent or a helper can administer the medication more easily when the patient is unable to themselves. This also makes it perfectly suited to those who are in the process of having an asthma attack and for this reason it’s a good idea to have a nebulizer to hand as well as an inhaler even if you are usually capable of using the latter.

Delivery

A nebulizer then is much easier to operate and is passive in the way it works when compared to an inhaler. But why use a nebulizer or inhaler at all? Well the simple reason is that it delivers medication directly to the lungs which is necessary for when it’s the lungs that need to be treated. When taking medication orally it will enter the blood stream and the body will use the active substances where they are needed, but it will take at least a minimal amount of time for the medication to get there. However when you breathe in aerosol through a nebulizer or inhaler this passes straight into your lungs and that means that it’s already in the place it is needed.

This means that it’s the fastest and most efficient way to get medication into the lungs and that means it’s perfect for treating:

  • Asthma
  • Emphysema
  • Sinusitis
  • Lung Disease
  • Allergies
  • Bronchitis
  • Flu
  • And more…

In some cases the nebulizer can also be used to clear airways and this can mean dissolving substances that might be causing a blockage.

Negatives of a Nebulizer

With all that in mind why not always use a nebulizer and why use inhalers at all? Well the simple matter is that a nebulizer is an electrical device that is fairly large and cumbersome and which requires a somewhat unwieldy attachment for breathing. This then means that it’s not entirely portable and you would be very restricted in what you could do as an asthmatic if you always had to keep your nebulizer on you. Likewise it requires a power source and this means that it’s not always practical to use the nebulizer and potentially more costly. It has many uses then and is important for certain circumstances, but so too is the inhaler which has made life a lot easier for many individuals suffering from respiratory diseases.

Why Keep a Nebulizer?

In hospitals then there are many benefits of owning a nebulizer and this means that patients who are too unwell, elderly or young to use an inhaler can still be treated. However nebulizers can also be purchased for home use and if you or someone in your household is prone to asthma attacks then this is an important investment – as someone in the middle of an attack will not always be able to use their inhaler. Likewise it can be useful for a range of other attacks and respiratory problems and can thus save lives – helping to bide time until the medical services arrive or preventing hospitalization altogether. Of course it won’t always be appropriate – in some cases you will not have the attack frequently enough to warrant owning a nebulizer – but if there’s a chance you’ll need one then it’s a worthy expense.

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Theodoros Manfredi

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