What is a nebulizer?
The purpose of the nebulizer is to make administering medication to the lungs swift and easy. It is a medical device that helps a person suffering from respiratory illnesses, such as asthma or any other disease, to do so effectively. A nebulizer functions by transforming medication from liquid form into a mist form that the patient can subsequently inhale with the help of a mouthpiece or a face mask. This method ensures the drug is delivered to the patient very quickly and they get the needed respite.
Who is a nebulizer for?
Nebulizers are prescribed for people with the following lung illnesses:
● Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD
Nebulizers can often also be prescribed to children who suffer from respiratory conditions or infections such as bronchitis.
Do nebulizers relieve coughing?
While nebulizers can work to give you relief from cough, it is essential to know that cough is not a disease or ailment but a symptom. Therefore, you may need first to find out the underlying condition, which may include:
● Post nasal drip
● Lung irritation
● Smoke exposure
● Common cold
● Acid reflux
● Cystic fibrosis
● Heart disease
● Lung disease
How should a nebulizer be used?
It is essential before starting the use of a nebulizer; one needs to follow through on the instructions carefully. It will typically be done by a health practitioner who will tell you how to use the nebulizer and answer all your queries. However, despite the instructions from medical personnel, you must read the instructions given on the pamphlet carefully because every machine operates a little differently. However, there are a few broad basic steps that one can chalk down:
● Make sure your hands are clean and hygienic.
● Follow your prescription to add medicine to the designated medicine cup.
● Then assemble all the pieces, including the top piece, mask, tubing and mouthpiece.
● Subsequently, follow the instructions to fix the tube to the machine.
● The next step involves switching on the nebulizer, which can either be run by electricity or be battery-powered.
● Follow the instructions to correctly hold up the mouthpiece and medicine cup to deliver the medication.
● Take deep and slow breaths to inhale the medicine through the mouthpiece completely.
Do you need a prescription?
Yes, using a nebulizer and the medication requires a prescription from a healthcare practitioner. You can also purchase the nebulizer without the medicine on any e-commerce site or a pharmacy without a prescription. But you can’t use it unless you have a prescription for the medication. It is wise to purchase the medicine using the drug and then the nebulizer because some medications need a specific type. There are quite a few medications that one can use with a nebulizer. These include:
● Sterile saline solutions: These are meant to open up the airways and lessen the thick secretions. These help in removing the excess mucus from the lungs.
● Antibiotics: Antibiotics help treat respiratory infections delivered straight to the lungs.
● Bronchodilators: bronchodilators typically help make breathing easier and are used by people who suffer from COPD, asthma etc.
Is a nebulizer the same thing as an inhaler?
While they both work to deliver medication to the lungs directly, there are significant differences between them. The differences between the two include:
● Accessibility and ease of use. Inhalers are typically harder to use because they require the patient to inhale the medicine deep into their lungs, which may be a significant demand for people with severe respiratory illnesses. However, nebulizers are much easier to use, and the patient does not necessarily have to take all of it into their lungs. But it does take a little more time than the inhaler. In addition, patients may have to sit with it for about 10 minutes to ensure that the medication is dispensed correctly, which can be difficult for younger patients.
● Another significant difference is that inhalers are pretty easy to carry around and are portable, whereas nebulizers are not portable and make for a complicated object to travel with.
Precautions and warnings
Nebulizers are generally safe devices when used within the ambit of given instructions.
● Ensure that you do not share your nebulizer device with multiple people, such as family members or other loved ones.
● Ensure that you always have the correct medication used in the nebulizer based on your requirements.
● You must always keep the nebulizers clean because not doing so can be detrimental.
● It is also essential to clean and dry the nebulizers after each use since the machine functions through the liquid; it can be an inviting place for moulds and other fungi.
● Abide by the instructions given on the pamphlet that comes with the machine to clean the machine. For example, the instructions may ask you to wash it with sterile water, soap, dishwasher, or rubbing alcohol.
Thus, nebulizers can give you respite when you find it difficult to breathe.