Nebulizers (aerosols) break down liquid medicine into aerosol mist that can be inhaled by the patient through a mouthpiece or facemask. Like inhalers, these devices can deliver medication straight into the lungs by simply inhaling the medication mist. One must understand the proper use of the device so positive outcomes can be achieved.
Uses of Nebulizers
Nebulizers are used extensively by cystic fibrosis patients because it delivers a bolus dose of medication directly into the lungs.
The patient has to prepare the medication which will be put in the nebulizer. Cystic fibrosis patients will typically put a bronchodilator, mucus thinners and antibiotics in their aerosol. Usually 2 aerosol sessions per day will be prescribed by a physician for persons with cystic fibrosis. One session will take place in the morning and one in the evening. Although the speed of aerosols improved a lot last years, inhaling all this medication can take up to 30 minutes per session.
Because inhaling and exhaling takes place when using a nebulizer, bacteria from the infected lungs go back into the mouth piece of the aerosol. Regular cleaning is very important if users don’t want to inhale bad bacteria the next time the device is used.
Compared to a nebulizer, an inhaler does not require the user to prepare the medication for it. Inhalers don’t need to be cleaned afterwards. Simply activate the device by pumping it and inhale. The medication is sprayed into the lungs.
Types of Nebulizers
- A Nebulizer can be portable or nonportable
Nonportable are those which need to be plugged in an electrical socket. The portable type is exactly what the name suggests.
- An aerosol can also be valved or nonvalved
The latter consists of a kit which is used in most hospitals today. The valved type is highly efficient because they have a certain device which can hold the medication from the inside.
- Jet or Ultrasonic devices
Aerosols can also be differed through the methods used to break down medicines. There are jet nebulizers which use a pressurized jet of stream. There is also the ultrasonic nebulizer which uses crystal vibrations at high frequencies.
A nebulizer has to be used properly so maximum therapeutic effects can be guaranteed. Unlike inhalers, patients breathe the mist in regular breaths. Although the device is used exactly like the inhalers, they do not require pumping or deep breathing activities. Here is how you should use an aerosol:
- Disconnect the kit from the compressor and remove the tubing
- Clean the outer part of the tubing using a damp cloth
- Take apart the pieces so you can clean them individually. The components have to be submerged into a bleach water solution for 15 minutes for disinfection. The solution will kill any accumulated bacteria and will eliminate medication residue
- Rinse the tubing and components under running water and air dry overnight
- The device has to be reassembled before it can be used again
- Nebulizers have a valve in which you can put the medication. It has to be closed afterwards before using the machine
- Once the mist comes out, breathe in the air through a facemask. You can also use the mouthpiece and inhale the mist
With the proper use of nebulizers, one can have better treatment for lung problems like cystic fibrosis patients have. Be sure to inhale the medicated mist properly so the drug can go directly to your lungs. Once inhaled, the medication will immediately take the desired effect.
Disclaimer: This website provides general information about cystic fibrosis and in no means should be taken as a medical or health advice. Please consult your doctor before acting on any of its information.