Nebulizer Buying Guide - Choosing The Best Nebulizer Machine?
Atomizing of liquid medication was the beginning of nebulizer therapy. Conversion of liquid medication into mist using compressed air for easier administration of medicines has been extremely prevalent since the early 1930s. People who have asthma, bronchitis, cystic fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease(COPD) and other respiratory diseases are often recommended to use nebulizers. If a person is suffering from one of the above-mentioned diseases, then they are likely to be prescribed a nebulizer by a doctor. An MDI (metered-dose inhaler), also familiarly called a pocket inhaler is also used for this type of medication, but nebulizers are less complicated in use and can be effectively used by children who are suffering from severe asthma.
A nebulizer is commonly used to convert liquid medicine into a mist when it is difficult for an asthma patient to use an inhaler, which requires taking a deep breath. Moreover, it can be problematic when the respiratory passages leading to the lungs become narrow. They come in various versions ranging from battery run, portable, non-portable to electric and have the same fundamental components that are used for the conversion of medicine in the liquid form into an aerosol.
A nebulizer typically has three following parts:
Container for liquid medicine
Tube to connect air compressor and container/ Air hose
Tube to connect mouthpiece and medicine container
Compressor: It is the mechanical part of the Nebulizer which helps in pumping air into it. Compressing air using high pressure is what makes liquid medicine turn into an aerosol.
Aerosol: The fluid type medicine when turned into vapour consisting of fine particles(usually in the range of 5-10 micron) is inhaled for treatment.
Particle Size: The particles present in the aerosol. The inhalation of the prescribed size of particles is more effective in treatment.
Nebulizer Tube: The device uses a special type of tube which is used to connect the Nebulizer to the compressor. Out and out, a nebulizer machine can be used for an instant rescue treatment that lasts for only a short amount of time or for a long-acting treatment for asthma attacks, CF, etc.
How To Use A Nebulizer?
The following step by step procedure will provide you with information as to how a typical Nebulizer is used.
Wash your hands thoroughly with water and soap before touching the Nebulizer kit.
Connect the tube(the one which connects the air compressor and medicine container) to the air compressor.
Now fill the container allotted for medication with the prescribed medicines. You can also mix the different medicines you are to use prior to adding them to the medicine container. To avoid spilling, make sure you hold the medicine cup firmly.
Hold the mouthpiece straight up and down.
Attach the mouthpiece to the medicine cup and then the both of them to the hose which is connected to the air compressor.
Keep the mouthpiece in your mouth and hold it firmly by holding your lips tight around it such that maximum medication can be directed into your lungs.
Breathe through your mouth until all the medicine inside the cup has been used up. This procedure takes around 10-15 minutes to execute.
A nose clip is suggested which can help you breathe through your mouth.
A mask is usually recommended for children instead of a mouthpiece.
Turn off the machine at the completion of the task.
How To Clean A Nebulizer?
Dismantle the components and wash each of them thoroughly with water after keeping them in lukewarm water for 10-15 minutes.
Put all the parts in a solution of three parts warm water and one part vinegar and then wash them.
Using instructions given by your doctor for cleaning.
Types Of Nebulizers
Nebulizers are mainly divided into electrical and mechanical types.
Soft Mist Inhaler
It gives you a pre-measured amount of medicine in a slow-moving mist which helps you inhale the medicine. The device is held horizontal while you put the mouthpiece in your mouth. Air vents must not be covered. The bottom of the inhaler containing the liquid is rotated by a hundred and eight degrees(180°) by hand, which leads to a built-up tension in spring around the liquid container. The energy from the spring is released and pressured is put on the liquid container when the patient/user turns on the bottom of the container. This causes the liquid medicine to be sprayed out of the two nozzles about the container, and a soft mist is formed. These devices do not need a battery to operate. This inhaler has a high efficiency when compared to a typical PMDI. Soft mist inhaler is also called a "hand-driven Nebulizer" or "hand-driven pMDI".
These are commonly also referred to as "atomizers". These devices use a compressor which is used to make the air or oxygen flow at an extremely high velocity leading to the conversion of the liquid into an aerosol. The aerosol is inhaled by the user. Although jet Nebulizers generate a lot of noise and are of greater weight, they are economical when compared to conventional pMDIs and can be used by people who stay most of the time indoors and do not require a portable device. This device is mostly used by patients in medical facilities who have difficulty breathing using inhalers and are experiencing asthma attacks. With the advancement in technology, the weight of jet Nebulizers has also been reduced and can now be portable as well.
Ultrasonic Wave Nebulizer
The phenomenon behind the operation of an ultrasonic wave Nebulizer is the generation of high frequencies ultrasonic waves due to vibrations occurring in a piezoelectric material. The vibrating material is in contact with the liquid medicine and the generation of high-frequency results in the production of an aerosol/mist. A heavy air compressor is not used in this device which is why they are a lot less heavy and generate almost no noise.
Vibrating Mesh Technology
This technology has numerous advantages. It works in the following way. A mesh of approximately 1000 to 7000 holes which are generated by the laser is made to sit on top of the liquid container. The vibration of this mesh causes the fluid is then turned into an aerosol. The main advantages of this technology are negligible noise, shorter execution time and particle size are very small, which results in deeper penetration of the medicine into the respiratory system. The problem of liquid waste production by ultrasonic wave Nebulizers is rectified by this technology. Smaller holes in the mesh break down the liquid into extremely fine particles which are very consistent.
Factors To Consider Before Buying A Nebulizer
Mode Of Operation
Based on your lifestyle, whether you stay at home or commute to work often and are always travelling, you will have to use a device according to that. For people who travel often, an ultrasonic wave Nebulizer or handheld Nebulizer would be effective. For the ones who stay at home, they might opt for a tabletop Nebulizer.
Type Of Medication
According to the medication prescribed by your doctor, the type of Nebulizers is to be decided. Limitations in the medical conditions of the patient will influence which type to buy.
Ultrasonic wave type and jet Nebulizers are less noisy than mechanical Nebulizers such as handheld, SMIs, tabletop type. But they have their own repercussions when putting into use such have higher cost and maintenance.
Ease In Cleaning
This factor is pretty self-explanatory and an essential one. It is better to buy Nebulizers which are made of porous materials that help in better cleaning. Complicated accessories make it difficult for the patient to use the device. So, make sure you buy a Nebulizer which is easy to use, can be put together without any hassle and easy to dismantle as well, this helps in better cleaning of the device. Furthermore, they are sold with or without facemasks and have a warranty of 2-5 years. These are the several factors needed to be considered before you buy your perfect Nebulizer.
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