How to use a nebulizer

A nebulizer is prescribed by the doctor as treatment for asthma. The device delivers the same types of medication as the metered-dose inhalers. Nebulizers are easier to use especially for children who are not old enough or adults suffering from severe asthma.

A nebulizer turns the liquid medication into a mist to manage asthma. The device is available in battery-operated or electric versions. Both are available in portable sizes and larger ones that can be plugged into the wall. Take note that both are comprised of a base that supports an air compressor, small-sized container for the liquid medication and a pipe that links the air compressor to the medication container. A mouthpiece or mask above the medication container is used to inhale the mist.


Nebulizers are easier to use especially for children who are not old enough or adults suffering from severe asthma.

Steps in using a nebulizer

The doctor will instruct the individual on how often to use a nebulizer.

  • Position the compressor on a flat surface within reach to an outlet
  • Check all the pieces to ensure that they are clean
  • Wash hands before preparing the medication
  • In case the medication is pre-mixed, place it in the container. If mixing is required, measure the right amount and place in the container.
  • Link the tube to the compressor and the liquid container.
  • Attach the mask or mouthpiece.
  • Turn the device on and check if the nebulizer is producing mist.
  • Position the mouthpiece in the mouth and close the mouth around it or place the mask securely over the nose and mouth without any gaps.
  • The individual should breathe in and out steadily until the drug is done, usually in 5-15 minutes.
  • Make sure that the liquid container is in an upright position during treatment.

How does it work?

The pressurized air moves via the tube and transforms the liquid medication into mist. During an asthma attack, the mist is quicker to breathe in than the spray from a pocket inhaler.

If the airways are narrowed during an asthma attack, the individual could not take deep breaths. Due to this, a nebulizer is effective in delivering the drug than an inhaler which necessitates taking a deep breath.

The nebulizers can provide short-acting or long-acting asthma medications. Some of the medications used in nebulizers include:

  • Ipratropium
  • Albuterol
  • Formoterol
  • Budesonide

The doctor will determine the medications to be used in the nebulizer. The type of medication and dosage is prescribed by the doctor.