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Inhalers and Nebulizers for Asthma

Use of inhalers and nebulizers for management of asthma is a common practice.

Inhalers

Inhalers are the handheld devices that are used for pumping medicines into our lungs. They need user’s coordination as one has to press the apparatus for inhaling the medicine. Inhalers are light, small & portable devices which can also get easily lost. If your child or you use inhalers, make sure to have backups. This is to avoid scarcity of inhaler during a sudden flare-up.

Inhalers are available as 2 types: Dry powder inhalers (DPI) and Metered dose inhalers (MDI). MDI inhalers deliver measured spritz of medicine while pressing the device. Certain MDI inhalers also count the doses taken, so we know if the medicine is about to exhaust. We can also use some spacer along with MDI inhaler for using it conveniently. The spacer is attached to inhaler & holds the medicine in a small area called a chamber, so that we can inhale when we are ready.

This works fine for young kids & even babies. We can either attach a mouthpiece or even a facemask to a spacer for convenient inhalation.

The dry powder inhaler releases medicines in the form of a powder. For using it, we forcibly inhale the powder from the inhaler. This technique needs slightly more work on the part of the user and usually is not the best option for the young kids.

Nebulizers

It is a plug-in or a battery-powered device which turns liquid medicines for asthma into a mist which can be easily inhaled. They are good especially for the kids as they are automatic. For taking medicine, we need to wear the nebulizer face mask or a mouthpiece and breathe in the medicine slowly. It generally takes around 5 to 10 minutes for breathing in the medicine using a nebulizer. The shortcoming is that the devices require a power source & are less portable as compared to the inhalers. They are usually bulky & loud.