What is a Nebulizer?

A nebulizer is a medical device which converts liquid medicine into vapor, mist or aerosol so that it can be inhaled directly into the air tubes or lungs. It uses electricity to generate compressed air which converts liquid form of medicine into vapors.

It has a power lead, a compressor, tubing and an operable plastic chamber into which the medicine solution is put. On turning it on, the aerosol comes out, which can be inhaled through the mask or mouthpiece.

A nebulizer is used to treat lung conditions such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, and other respiratory illnesses. It is often used in situations in which using an inhaler is difficult or ineffective. Nebulizers are also used to limit the side effects of medications like steroids by delivering the medicine directly to the respiratory system.

There are two types of nebulizers
  • Atomizer jet (Compressor nebulizer)
  • Ultrasonic (Mesh nebulizers)

The atomizer is the most common. This type uses an aerosol compressor to vaporize droplets of medicine. 

Ultrasonic use high-frequency sound waves to make liquid medicine breathable. While ultrasonic models produce results comparable to jet nebulizers, they offer faster delivery of medication and operate more quietly. With both types of nebulizer, the patient inhales vapor through a mouthpiece or face mask.

Both the jet and ultrasonic nebulizer systems come in tabletop or portable models and a variety of accessories and supplies are available for each. Tabletop nebulizers are intended for home use, as they need to be plugged into an electrical outlet. Portable units are battery-powered and small enough to fit into a bag or purse for travel; however.

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