A nebulizer is a piece of medical equipment that is used to administer medication. This medication enters the lungs in the form of a mist. The medication, in its base form, is a liquid; the nebulizer then turns this liquid into a very fine mist that the patient inhales using a mask or a mouthpiece. A nebulizer is also sometimes called an atomizer.
The most common use of a nebulizer is to administer asthma medication. It is, however, also being used in other respiratory illnesses.
How does a nebulizer work? A nebulizer consists of four main parts: the machine with the compressor, the tubing, the receptacle for the medicine, and the mask or mouthpiece. The medicine, in liquid form, is placed in the receptacle, which is at the end of the tube. The compressor works by pushing oxygen via the tube into the receptacle. This creates a fine mist, which is directed towards the mouthpiece, which is how the patient inhales the medication.
A nebulizer session can last anywhere from five to ten minutes, depending on the required dosage. It is important that the patient is relaxed and does not fret during the session as the medicine may not be inhaled properly. Obviously, this can be a problem with some children, especially if they do not like the idea of having a mask held over their face. While the process is totally painless, some find it uncomfortable for one reason or another.
There are different types of nebulizers these days, and there are many portable ones now. Some have to be plugged into a wall socket while others are battery operated.