Nebulizer Therapy

Nebulizer Therapy

Nebulizers: Exploring Their Purpose and Types

A nebulizer is a device that transforms liquid medication into a mist for inhalation, aiding in respiratory treatment. These devices come in two variations: home (tabletop) and portable models. While home nebulizers are larger and require an electrical outlet, portable nebulizers are battery-operated or can be plugged into a car outlet. Some portable nebulizers are as small as a deck of cards, allowing for easy portability.

Obtaining a nebulizer generally requires a doctor's prescription or can be acquired at a pediatrician's office. Additionally, individuals often undergo breathing treatments in a medical setting. The cost of home nebulizers typically starts at $50, excluding accessories, while portable nebulizers may have a slightly higher price tag.

Health insurance policies typically cover nebulizers under durable medical equipment, but it is important to verify with your insurance provider regarding preferred suppliers before making a purchase or rental. Your healthcare team should be able to assist you with this process.

There are three primary types of nebulizers:

  • Jet: Utilizes compressed gas to create an aerosol of medication particles.
  • Ultrasonic: Generates an aerosol through high-frequency vibrations, producing larger medication particles compared to jet nebulizers.
  • Mesh: Liquid passes through an ultra-fine mesh to create the aerosol, resulting in the smallest particles. Mesh nebulizers are the most expensive option.

When using a nebulizer, it is crucial to discuss with your doctor whether a mouthpiece or a mask is more suitable for you or your child. Masks, which cover the nose and mouth, are often preferred for children under 5 years old, as they primarily breathe through their nose.

Nebulizers are especially beneficial for administering asthma medications to infants and young children. They also prove helpful when individuals struggle with using an asthma inhaler or require a higher dosage of inhaled medication.

Nebulized therapy, commonly referred to as a breathing treatment, encompasses various medications for both managing asthma symptoms and providing immediate relief. These medications include corticosteroids to combat inflammation (such as budesonide, flunisolide, fluticasone, and triamcinolone) and bronchodilators to open the airways (such as albuterol, formoterol, levalbuterol, and salmeterol).

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