Nebulizer for asthma treatment

A nebulizer is sometimes used for asthma because:

  • The medication can be given over a longer period of time.
  • It may be easier to use for small children or for people who have serious difficulty breathing or have trouble using an inhaler.

A nebulizer uses a face mask or mouthpiece to deliver medication in the form of a fine mist (aerosol). You breathe in the nebulized medication through the mouthpiece or face mask. The mouthpiece or face mask needs to be cleaned after each use.

In general, a nebulizer may not always be the best choice for delivering daily asthma medications to children because it:

  • Is difficult to keep the mask on the child's face for the length of time needed for each treatment.
  • Can be more expensive to use than a metered-dose inhaler (MDI).
  • Can deliver more medication than is needed, compared with an inhaler and a spacer. This makes it easier to give a child too much medication.

Last Updated: March 20, 2009

Author: Maria G. Essig, MS, ELS

Medical Review: Michael J. Sexton, MD - Pediatrics & Harold S. Nelson, MD - Allergy and Immunology

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