If you have asthma or any form of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), then you are very much familiar with inhalers and the nebulizer. The nebulizer changes the liquid medication into aerosol form so that you may be able to inhale it. Compressed air, ultrasonic power, or oxygen are used to convert the medication and then deliver the dose into your lungs as you inhale it. These days, the use of the nebulizer is less frequent but most patients still prefer to use it.
The nebulizer Â delivers a medication that dilates the air passages. This makes the patient breathe much better. Emergency rooms and the paramedics are always equipped with this for patients who experience asthma attacks. Read on to find out more about the indispensable device known as the nebulizer:
1. The systems
There are two main types of nebulizer systemsâ€”jet nebulizer and ultrasonic nebulizer. The jet nebulizer uses compressed air and wastes a lot of medication during use while the ultrasonic nebulizer makes use of ultrasonically vibrating crystals and is common these days. You use the systems by breathing in theÂ converted medication, at the very least 6 liters per minute for about five to ten minutes.
2. Basic parts
The nebulizer Â is known to be inefficient because it only gives you about ten percent of the medication through the mouthpieces and face masks available. Â When the patient is having too much difficulty in breathing, the face mask is preferred. As you know, the medications delivered through the nebulizer are known as corticosteroids and shouldÂ not be in contact with the eyes or skin.
The nebulizer is used for both domiciliary and emergency treatments. It is also indicated that the device can be used to manage and treat COPD, bronchiectasis, and cystic fibrosis. It can also be used for palliative care.
At present, the nebulizer is not advised for the emergency treatment of acute asthma anymore.Â The MDI (metered dose inhaler) is much more prescribed because of less side effects; easy use especially for wheezing episodes; lighter, maintenance-free, cheaper, available (upon prescription, and portable; and is used to establish asthma. In domiciliary care, the nebulizer is not that prescribed to be used anymore. But the patients prefer it and trust it more that the modern MDI.
Like any apparatus that you use, the nebulizer needs to be cared for. You have to clean it everyday and after every use. You should make sure that the chamber, the mask, and the mouthpiece should all be disassembled, washed in soap and water, and should be air dried overnight. The following day, before you use it, let it run first before actually adding the prescribed medication. The chamber, mask, mouthpiece, and tubing should all be replaced every three to four months. The compressors should be regularly serviced by the technician in your area, most preferably, from the company that issued it to you. If ever you experience a sudden slow nebulizer episode, this means that the device should already be cleaned. But when you cleaned it and tried the treatment again and it remained slow, then your spare nebulizer should be brought out and used.
6. Who uses it?
Who should use the nebulizer? Before, only a person with asthma is known to use the nebulizer. Nowadays, you use the device on someone who has difficulty in breathing (ambulance or hospital); someone who has problems with using their hands; has a severe disease of the respiratory system; and someone who is in need of very moist breathing treatment.
7. Better than inhalers?
Actually, this is not true. The puffer is as less efficient as the nebulizer, even when the patient is having a sudden attack of asthma. During asthma attacks, you could take in the medication much faster and more efficient with the use of the puffer.
Your doctor should always be contacted whenever you have an asthma attack and when you are using the nebulizer in getting some form of relief. This is to let your healthcare professionals of the proper care that you incorporate into your breathing treatments. Even if MDI is already preferred by so many these days, if you really have more faith in the nebulizer, then you should tell your doctor that you will still keep on using it. Together with the use of the nebulizer, is the proper lifestyle change for you so that your COPD will be treated with long term goals. If you have to go out of the house, then it is excusable to just carry a puffer with you. But when you are just at home, your nebulizer should be your best friend if your want.