How Do They Work? A Guide to Portable Nebulizers

How do you take your medication? A wide variety of intake methods are available. Many meds can be swallowed, breaking down in the stomach. Topical treatments involve application on the skin, with said treatment gradually getting absorbed into the muscles and bloodstream. Injections are more direct.

Which one you use depends on the medication itself, the condition being treated, and the user’s own needs. When none of the above are ideal, portable nebulizers offer an alternative solution. Read on to learn more about what makes them unique, what makes them work, and what makes them potentially effective for a patient’s needs.

What are Nebulizers?

Nebulizers are devices that give people medication through the lungs. The medication starts in a liquid form, and the machine converts it into a mist. The user inhales the particles, usually breathing in and out over 10-15 minutes. The process is excellent for treating breathing issues and conditions like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis, and more.

A common question regards the differences between nebulizers and inhalers. Both can be just as effective in treating similar ailments, and many people keep one of each handy. While inhalers may be smaller, cheaper, and better for emergencies, nebulizers have their benefits. They produce a visible spray, reassuring the user that it is working. Moreover, they are easy to use, especially for kids who may not be dexterous enough to wield an inhaler.

How Do They Work?

Nebulizers come in two categories. The first is based on where they are used. Home set-ups get their electricity from plugging into wall outlets, and the user sits down with it as they operate it. Portable nebulizers run on batteries and can be used on the go.

The second category is based on how the device creates mist from the liquid. Just about all rely on electricity. Most use air compressors to break down the medication into aerosol droplets, which can then be inhaled. More expensive models use sound vibrations, which can be quieter. Others even come with a mesh that makes the particles even smaller and finer.

No matter what, the process is essentially the same. One must fill the nebulizer cup with the right amount of medication. Once the user gets comfortable and sits up straight, they secure a mask and sometimes a mouthpiece. Both the cup and the mask should be secured to the device, along with the compressor. Please turn it on, take deep breaths, hold them for a couple of seconds before exhaling, and repeat until you run out of medication.

Who Should Use Them?

As we hinted at earlier, children can especially benefit from using nebulizers. Infants may not be able to use inhalers on their own. Even older kids may not be able to properly use inhalers, or they may be frightened of them. These devices can be easier and more comforting for providing regular treatment. One can even find portable nebulizers designed to resemble animals or cartoon characters, made with children in mind.

To be clear, adults can benefit from using these machines as well. Sometimes, medication must be transferred to the lungs in larger doses than most inhalers can hold. Nebulizers have much higher capacities. They may also present a viable alternative for those who face challenges in handling an inhaler, such as arthritis in the hands.

Finally, as we stated earlier, nebulizers are built to provide care and relief for issues related to breathing. If you have asthma, bronchiectasis, COPD, or something else in that category, ask your physician if this treatment method is right for your needs.

How Do I Clean It?

If you plan to use nebulizers for any lengthy period, you may need to clean them. Each device will come with instructions for proper care and maintenance. Even so, we can give you some rules of thumb to keep in mind.

After every time you use the device, disassemble it. Take care to wash the mouthpiece and the nebulizer cup. You can try to take care of the tubing as well, though you may have to replace it if you cannot get every part. Hot water and a nice lather of dish soap will suffice. Once you are done, let each component dry in the open air.

Disinfecting should be done every week. The cup and mask should soak for an hour in a mixture of hot water and some white vinegar. If your device comes with its solution, use that instead. This is important because otherwise, medication particles can stick and get gross quickly.

What Else Should I Know?

Deep breathing is required for letting the particles settle and get absorbed inside your body. However, it can also leave some people light-headed. If you find yourself feeling dazed or losing focus, feel free to take a break. Resume the process once you feel normal. If it often happens, though, you may want to consult a doctor or even seek an alternative.

Portable nebulizers should be efficient in their battery use, but you do not want to risk running out partway through the process. You may want a spare set of batteries, or even an additional nebulizer. They may seem unnecessary, but you will be happy to have them in a pinch.

Portable Nebulizers at Alex Orthopedic

The nebulizer can be an invaluable addition to a person’s collection of medical equipment. It can transfer a great deal of medication through unconventional means with surprising efficiency. Even if you prefer inhalers for certain means, this device can be a comfortable and excellent tool for treating a range of breathing-related conditions.

If you or someone you know could benefit from using them, Alex Orthopedic is home to several high-quality home and portable nebulizers. We even have a couple that looks like animals for the comfort of pediatric patients. All our products are designed to provide the best possible care. Visit our online store today and see how we can help you feel better.