FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
A nebulizer is a medical device that turns liquid medication into a mist or an aerosol so that it can be inhaled directly into the lungs through a face mask or a mouthpiece.
Nebulizers and inhalers are different types of devices. They both are used to deliver medicines in aerosol or mist form to the airways and the lungs. Nebulizers are usually powered by electricity or batteries. An inhaler is not powered by electricity and is usually handheld.
Nebulization should be done only on a doctor’s prescription or recommendation.
It is suitable for a certain group of patients who cannot use the handheld inhalers effectively – for example, patients who are very sick, who are old with co-morbidities that limit their physical and cognitive skills, those who need higher doses of drugs, or infants who cannot use handheld inhalers with or without spacers, or in acute conditions.
A nebulizer should be used at home only when prescribed by the doctor and after understanding the instructions clearly on how to use it. The medicine dosage and the frequency of use should be in accordance with your doctor’s prescription. Moreover, proper cleaning and maintenance of the device should be done regularly as per the instructions in the device manual.
No, nebulization does not create any addiction whatsoever – the medicines are the same as those that are administered through handheld inhalers.
A nebulizer delivers the medication directly to the lungs and the airways. Hence, the medicine dose required is much less than that present in the tablets or syrups used for oral therapy.
Yes, it is safe to perform nebulization in infants and small children with breathing difficulty – but it should be done only if prescribed by the physician and only after following the instructions on the use of a nebulizer correctly. As a parent or caregiver, you should first clearly understand the steps to perform nebulization before you nebulize your child.
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Nebulization should be done only if it is prescribed by the doctor. The instructions pertaining to usage, dosage, cleaning, and maintenance need to be followed correctly. The medication dosage and nebulization frequency and duration should be strictly adhered to as per the doctor’s prescription.
A nebulizer must be used as per your doctor's recommendation. The medication dosage and frequency and duration of the nebulization should be strictly adhered to as per the doctor’s prescription.
Nebulization should be performed using the medicine dosage as recommended by the doctor. If it is strictly followed, there are no chances of overdosing.
When certain drugs such as steroids or anticholinergics are to be administered, there are chances of some side effects if the mist comes in contact with the skin or eyes. In such cases, the side effects can be prevented by using a mouthpiece and cleaning of the nose and mouth area after nebulization with warm water to prevent side effects.
Irrespective of any type of nebulized medication used, rinsing out of the throat and mouth with water should be done. On the other hand, unlike oral medicines where a large amount of medicine is administered, the systemic side effects are much lower in nebulization since less amount of drug is administered.
The fill volume should not be less than 2 mL, especially when you are using a jet nebulizer. For a nebulizer to work efficiently, the correct fill volume should be used. If dilution is required, normal saline should be used. Water should not be used as it can lead to a dangerous condition called bronchospasm and cough.
No, it is absolutely not advisable to share the mouthpiece or face mask. Sharing can increase the risk of spread of infections from one person to the other. If disposable nebulizers are used, they should be used once and thrown.
A mouthpiece is better than a face mask. With the mouthpiece, the mist directly enters the respiratory system. It has been documented that nebulization using a mouthpiece is significantly effective than a face mask. However, facemask can be used in patients who are not co-operative and in acute condition as per doctor’s recommendations.
A proper and tight-fitting mask can improve the delivery of the nebulizer medication and reduces the chances of wastage of medicine. The tight-fitting mask also prevents the medicine from coming in contact with the eyes. A patient using the face mask should be encouraged to inhale through the mouth.
It is essential to clean nebulizer and its accessories after every use and disinfect daily. If any liquid is left in the nebulizer and its parts, germs such as yeast, bacteria, and fungus can colonize and multiply. This poses a risk of infection to the patient undergoing nebulization. Cleaning after nebulization and daily disinfection of the nebulizer kills these germs and ensures future germ-free treatment to the patient.
The user should sit comfortably in an upright position or at a 45-degree angle so as to minimize breathing difficulty and also to allow maximum lung expansion in order to ensure that the maximum amount of medication reaches into the airways and the lungs.
In this time span, most of the drug is nebulized and the leftover drug which remains, cannot be nebulized further. When most of the medicine is nebulized, a spluttering sound is heard which indicates that the nebulization should be stopped. For mesh and ultrasonic nebulizers, the nebulization time is even shorter than jet nebulizers.