The pressurized air passes through the tube and turns the liquid medicine into a mist. During an asthma attack or a respiratory infection, the mist may be easier to inhale than the spray from a pocket inhaler. When your airways become narrow — like during an asthma attack — you can’t take deep breaths. For this reason, a nebulizer is a more effective way to deliver the medication than an inhaler, which requires you to take a deep breath.
A nebulizer is prescribed as treatment or breathing therapy. for asthmatic patients. The device delivers the same types of medication as metered-dose inhalers (MDIs), which are the familiar pocket-sized inhalers. Nebulizers may be easier to use than MDIs, especially for children who aren’t old enough to properly use inhalers or adults with severe asthma.
A nebulizer turns liquid medicine into a mist to help treat your asthma. They come in electric or battery-run versions. They come in both a portable size you can carry with you and a larger size that’s meant to sit on a table and plug into a wall. Both are made up of a base that holds an air compressor, a small container for liquid medicine, and a tube that connects the air compressor to the medicine container. Above the medicine container is a mouthpiece or mask you use to inhale the mist.
How to use a nebulizer
Here are general instructions on how to use a nebulizer:
- Put the compressor on a flat surface where it can safely reach an outlet.
- Check to make sure all the pieces are clean.
- Wash your hands before prepping the medication.
- If your medication is premixed, place it in the container. If you need to mix it, measure the correct amount, and then place it in the container.
- Connect the tube to the compressor and the liquid container.
- Attach the mouthpiece or mask.
- Turn on the switch and check to see that the nebulizer is misting.
- Put the mouthpiece in your mouth and close your mouth around it or put the mask securely over your nose and mouth, leaving no gaps.
- Slowly breath in and out until the medicine is gone. This may take five to 15 minutes.
- Keep the liquid container upright throughout the treatment.