Nebulizers turn liquid medicines into a fine aerosol that can be inhaled deep into the airways. Though studies show they are no more effective than MDIs, they offer an alternative for patients who have difficulty with MDI coordination or who prefer a slower delivery of medication. Some say they benefit from taking extra time during an asthma flare for a nebulizer treatment, giving them a chance to sit down, relax and breathe normally, while relieving inflammation and bronchospasm.
In a nebulizer system, the machine is called the compressor and the medicine cup is the nebulizer; the two are connected with tubing. Small, one-piece, battery-powered units are also available. Discuss with your doctor or pharmacist if a nebulizer is right for your family.
Blow-By Myth: Never use the “blow-by” technique of simply aiming the mist at the patient’s face; use a mask if the patient can’t use a mouthpiece efficiently.