Nebulizer for Asthma Treatment

Nebulizer for Asthma Treatment

Topic Overview

A nebulizer is a device used to deliver liquid medicine in the form of a fine mist (aerosol). It is sometimes used for asthma because:

  • The medicine can be given over a longer period of time.
  • It may be easier to use for small children or for people who have serious difficulty breathing or have trouble using an inhaler .

A nebulizer uses a face mask or mouthpiece to deliver medicine. You breathe in the medicine through the mouthpiece or face mask . The mouthpiece or face mask needs to be cleaned after each use.

In general, a nebulizer may not always be the best choice for delivering daily asthma medicines to children because it:

  • Is hard to keep the mask on the child's face for the length of time needed for each treatment.
  • Isn't mobile. It is an electrical device that must stay in place while the child uses it.
  • Can be more expensive to use than a metered-dose inhaler (MDI).
  • Can deliver more medicine than is needed, compared with an inhaler and a spacer . This makes it easier to give a child too much medicine.
  • Needs maintenance on a regular basis.

If your child seems afraid to use a nebulizer, you may be able to help him or her by:

  • Putting the mask on your own face first to show your child there's nothing to be afraid of.
  • Have your child put the mask on a favorite stuffed animal to show that it isn't dangerous.
  • Distract your child during treatment, such as by watching a favorite TV show together or reading a book to your child.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerJohn Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical ReviewerLora J. Stewart, MD - Allergy and Immunology
Last RevisedMarch 14, 2013

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