What’s the Difference Between a Nebulizer and Inhaler?

by | Apr 15, 2021 | Nebulizer therapy

Asthma medicine needs to get into your lungs to work, but do you know how it gets there? Inhalers and nebulizers — that’s how! Your doctor will tell you which device is best for you.

Inhalers and nebulizers are tools that get asthma medicines into the lungs. Most teens with asthma use an inhaler.

Asthma medicines that get breathed in are a key part of asthma treatment. They work to prevent flare-ups from happening and they help keep flare-ups from getting really bad.

What’s a Nebulizer?

If you have asthma, your doctor may prescribe a nebulizer as treatment or breathing therapy. 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 the Nebulizer?

Your doctor will tell you how often to use the nebulizer. Ask your doctor if there are any specific instructions for your treatment. You should also read the manual that comes with your machine.

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.

What’s an Inhaler?

Inhalers are little devices that can fit in your hand and are small enough to carry in a backpack, purse, or pocket.

According to Wikipedia, An inhaler (also known as a puffer, pump, or allergy spray) is a medical device used for delivering medicines into the lungs through the work of a person’s breathing. This allows medicines to be delivered to and absorbed in the lungs, which provides the ability for targeted medical treatment to this specific region of the body, as well as a reduction in the side effects of oral medications. There are a wide variety of inhalers, and they are commonly used to treat numerous medical conditions with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) being among the most notable.

Some of the common types of inhalers include meter-dosed inhalers, dry powder inhalers, soft mist inhalers, and nebulizers. Each device has advantages and disadvantages and can be selected based on specific patient needs, as well as age, coordination, and lung function. Proper education on inhaler use is important to ensure that inhaled medication takes its proper effects in the lungs.

Metered-dose inhalers (MDI) are the most commonly used. Like little aerosol cans, these inhalers push out a spray of medicine.

Dry powder inhalers deliver medicine in powder form, but it does not spray out. The person must do more of the work by inhaling the powdered medicine quickly and deeply.

How to Use the Inhaler?

Using a metered-dose inhaler (MDI) seems simple. But many people do not use them the right way. If you use your MDI the wrong way, less medicine gets to your lungs, and most remains in the back of your mouth. If you have a spacer, use it. It helps get more medicine into your airways.

1. Getting Ready :

Take the cap off.

Look inside the mouthpiece and make sure there is nothing in it.

Shake the inhaler hard 10 to 15 times before each use.

Breathe out all the way. Try to push out as much air as you can.

2.Breathe in Slowly

Hold the inhaler with the mouthpiece down. Place your lips around the mouthpiece so that you form a tight seal.

As you start to slowly breathe in through your mouth, press down on the inhaler one time.

Keep breathing in slowly, as deeply as you can.

3.Hold Your Breath

Take the inhaler out of your mouth. If you can, hold your breath as you slowly count to 10. This lets the medicine reach deep into your lungs.

Pucker your lips and breathe out slowly through your mouth.

If you are using inhaled, quick-relief medicine (beta-agonists), wait about 1 minute before you take your next puff. You do not need to wait a minute between puffs for other medicines.

Put the cap back on the mouthpiece and make sure it is firmly closed.

After using your inhaler, rinse your mouth with water, gargle, and spit. Do not swallow the water. This helps reduce the side effects of your medicine.

Whichever device your doctor recommends, learn how to use it correctly so you get the medicine into your lungs. Taking your asthma medicine the right way can both prevent flare-ups from happening and keep a flare-up from getting really bad.

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