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Harvard Commentaries
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Harvard Commentaries
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When Does A Nebulizer Help?


December 03, 2009

Asthma
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When Does A Nebulizer Help?
When Does A Nebulizer Help?
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Although a nebulizer may be easier to use than an inhaler, it won't help the average person with asthma any more than an inhaler will.
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2009-12-03
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InteliHealth/Harvard Medical Content
2011-12-03

Reviewed by the Faculty of Harvard Medical School

When Does A Nebulizer Help?
 
A nebulizer is a machine that creates a fine, drug-infused mist that can be breathed into the lungs. Although a nebulizer may be easier to use than an inhaler, especially if you are breathing rapidly and can't coordinate your breathing with an inhaler, it won't help the average person with asthma any more than an inhaler will. That's because the droplets of drugs sprayed from an inhaler are even tinier than those from a nebulizer. The smaller the particles, the more likely they can travel through smaller and smaller air tubes to the farthest reaches of the lungs.
    • People with severe asthma are likely to have severe attacks that require the use of nebulizer machines. For them, having a nebulizer at home can help prevent frequent visits to a health-care provider or hospital.
    • For infants and children, nebulizers deliver drugs to the lungs more effectively than inhalers do.

 

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