Nebulizers are quite commonplace in hospitals and clinics these days and you’ll even find quite a number of households that have one too.
But what exactly is a Nebulizer and what does it do? We know it helps with breathing, but does it give oxygen to a patient? Does is create humidity that eases strain in the lungs? What precisely does it do?
Quite simply; a Nebulizer is not an oxygen delivery device, nor is it a humidifier. A Nebulizer is a drug delivery device that can dispense medication directly into the lungs in the form of an inhalable mist.
Nebulizers are used to treat various lung diseases such as: asthma, cystic fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other severe forms of lung infections and diseases.
The Nebulizer machine uses a mixture of processes involving oxygen, compressed air, and even ultrasonic power to atomize and vaporise liquid medication into small aerosol droplets, or a mist, that can be inhaled directly into the lungs.
There are three main types of electrical Nebulizers which can currently be found.
The Ultrasonic Wave Nebulizer is one of the first types of electrical nebulizers that were designed and available on the market in 1964. An electronic oscillator creates a high-frequency ultrasonic wave which causes mechanical vibrations in a piezoelectric element that breaks the liquid medication into a fine mist. Because no air compression is used during this process, this type of Nebulizer is one of the quietest machines available.
Jet Nebulizers are one of the most commonly used machines available today. A Jet Nebulizer is also known as an atomizer because it uses compressed air to run through liquid medication at high speed, which allows it to be turned into an aerosol. Jet Nebulizers are commonly used by patients who are unable to use MDIs (metered-dose inhalers – the inhalers you usually see asthma sufferers using), or patients who require daily treatments – for whom MDIs can become very expensive. Although its big drawbacks are size, weight and noise, the Jet Nebulizer’s big advantage is its low operating costs. Manufacturers are constantly improving on design and reducing overall weight and size, making the machine more portable.
The Vibrating Mesh Technology Nebulizer is one of the latest innovations in the market and it uses a laser-drilled mesh membrane which vibrates to refine the droplet size and force the liquid through, thereby creating a very fine mist. This technology allows for faster processing and thus decreases treatment times significantly. Some of the advantages of the VMT Nebulizer is that it decreases the amount of liquid waste as well as the undesired heating of the medical liquid. It is however far more expensive than any of the other types of Nebulizers which is one of its greatest drawbacks.
There is still some disagreement on whether or not a Nebulizer is more effective as a delivery system than an MDI. However, it is agreed that even though MDIs are far more convenient because of their small size and extreme portability, this is mostly only applicable to asthma sufferers and do not necessarily show relevance to other types of pulmonary patients.
Nebulizers also have many different attachments that can be used to great effectiveness, depending on a patient’s individual needs and personal preference. With the costs of Nebulizers falling significantly, it is an easily affordable machine that can be used to treat a variety of ailments safely and securely in one’s home.
Here at Omnisurge, we stock both Nebulizers as well as some high-quality attachments. If you have any queries about Nebulizers or would like more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us directly.