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The nebulizer is used both during infections of the respiratory system and other diseases, which is why it is a device worth having at home. How does the nebuliser work, how to use it? What types of nebulizers are on the market and how to choose the best one?

Nebulizeris popular mainly among parents of young children. Meanwhile, it is a device that can be used by anyone who requires rapid administration of the drug in the form of inhalation (i.e. as an aerosol) directly into the respiratory tract - for example, people with upper respiratory tract infection, people suffering from cystic fibrosis, asthma or COPD - chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The use of the nebulizer is not complicated, and this device has one more significant advantage - taking the drug in the form of inhalation significantly reduces the possibility of adverse effects that may occur in the case of oral drugs that are absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract.

Nebulizer - how does it work?

How does the nebulizer work?In a nutshell, the nebulizer breaks the drug into a light mist, which the patient inhales - by putting a special mouthpiece or mask on the mouth or nose. Particles of the drug broken down in the nebuliser vary in size, depending on where the drug is to be absorbed.

The smallest, up to 3 µm in size, are absorbed in the alveoli, and slightly larger (from 2 to 5 µm) in the bronchi and bronchioles. Drug molecules ranging in size from 5 to 8 µm are absorbed in the trachea and large bronchi, while the largest particles, i.e. above 8 µm - in the nasopharynx.

How to use the nebulizer?

The use of the nebulizer is not complicated - most models are so simple that even children (under adult supervision) can handle them. As with any device, read the instructions for use before use, but the information in the nebuliser package leaflet is also important.

What do you need to remember? The nebulizer mask should fit the face exactly - so that the mist with the drug particles does not escape sideways, but goes directly to the respiratory tract. Inhalation is recommended for older children and adultsmist directly through the mouthpiece.

During the entire procedure, you should sit or assume a semi-sitting position, but in such a way that the head is slightly tilted back. However, you shouldn't lie on your side. Some devices make it possible to administer the drug to the patient while lying down, even while sleeping.

When the treatment is completed, wash your face thoroughly to remove any irritating medication from the skin. You also need to brush your teeth - some nebuliser medications can discolor and promote cavities - and you should thoroughly clean the nebuliser.

Types of nebulizers - pneumatic, ultrasonic, membrane, mesh

Various types of nebulizers are available in medical stores and pharmacies. They differ not only in appearance, brand or price - the main difference is the design of the nebulizer and the way it works, and therefore the operating parameters used by the manufacturer, the method of breaking down drugs, or even the type of preparations that can be used in them.

Pneumatic nebulizer

This is the most commonly used type of nebulizer. It turns the liquid into a mist with the help of compressed air that flows through a special nozzle. The pneumatic nebulizer is equipped with a compressor (compressor). When the air is expanded after starting the device, the liquid is sucked in and then broken into small particles thanks to the high air force.

Part of the fluid then returns to the reservoir and is broken down at a later stage. The mist goes directly to the mouthpiece or mask. The pneumatic nebulizer is quite noisy, but has other advantages: it is designed to deliver precise doses of medication and is suitable for the delivery of any type of nebuliser medication.

Ultrasonic nebulizer

In ultrasonic nebulizers, the healing mist is created thanks to the energy of ultrasonic waves, the source of which is a special converter. The drug molecules produced in this way are very small and therefore reach the lower respiratory tract - including the lungs.

The ultrasonic nebulizer does not have a compressor, so it is relatively quiet, but only some drugs can be administered with it, because ultrasonic waves can have a destructive effect on the structure of proteins present in steroids, antibiotics and some drugs administered to people suffering from cystic fibrosis. The new generation ultrasonic nebulizers can - unlike pneumatic nebulizers - also be used to moisturize the respiratory tract with saline.

Membrane nebulizer - mesh nebulizer

Membrane nebulizer, also referred toas a mesh nebulizer it is equipped with a membrane which, by vibrating, moves the liquid medication through microscopic windows and thus transforms it into an aerosol. The advantage of this solution is both silent operation and the fact that the drug particles have a specific, precise size, and after the end of nebulization, no drug residues are left in the container.

This type of nebuliser can be used to apply all nebuliser drugs, and the latest models allow the drug to be nebulized in a supine position, e.g. while sleeping.

Nebulizer - which one to choose?

Choosing a nebulizer is not easy - there is no one type of device suitable for each patient. First of all, the technical parameters of the nebulizer are important, as they enable the effective application of a specific type of drug. When looking for a nebulizer for yourself, it is worth paying attention to:

  • device functions- is inhalation possible, e.g. with saline, apart from nebulization
  • MMAD indicator- (Mass Median Aerodynamic Diameter) - defines the particle size to which the device is able to spray the liquid drug. The smaller the ratio, the better, as only the smallest form of sprayed drugs can reach the lower respiratory tract.
  • respirable fraction FPF%- defines the percentage of particles smaller than 5 µm. The optimal FPF% fraction is not less than 80%.
  • residual capacity- describes the amount of preparation that remains in the nebulizer reservoir after treatment. The lower the value the better as this means that the nebuliser medication is almost completely used up.
  • nebulization time- the shorter the procedure time, the better, especially in the case of children and chronically ill people.

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