What is a nebuliser?
A nebuliser is a device that facilitates intake of medication in asthmatic people including children. The medicine is usually in the form of an aerosol and has to be inhaled.
Asthma is a respiratory disorder involving narrowing and constriction of the bronchioles. This causes difficulty in breathing as oxygen supply to the body is reduced. An aerosol is a mixture of air and a solution i.e. medication. It acts on the bronchioles, relieves constriction and improves oxygen flow.
Need for nebulisation: Previously asthmatic patients were administered oral medications or injections. These took a longer time to be absorbed and provide relief. Only a very small amount of this reached the lungs as most part was absorbed by other tissues. This may also result in side effects. Medication in aerosol form when inhaled by a nebuliser provided much relief. The aerosol formed into bubbles and reached the bronchioles immediately.
Advantages of a nebuliser
• Medication reaches the target tissue in the prescribed dosage immediately.
• While using an aerosol only a very small fraction of the oral medication or injection is required for effective results.
• Using a nebuliser assures a faster and instant relief.
• There are little known side effects or toxic effects.
• Nebulisation can be used any number of times if the condition of the patient so demands and till complete relief is got.
Nebulisation for children
Children suffering from asthma are usually asked to use nebulisers. Initially children feel reluctant and scary to use a nebuliser, but parents need to take care and explain patiently how a nebuliser works. The usage and advantages of a nebuliser need to be emphasized so as to overcome any hesitancy on the child’s part.
Nebulisation can be used at home and many parents prefer using it at home as it is convenient both in terms of treatment and is cost effective. Children can be easily nebulised in the comfort of their homes. Running to a hospital at odd times can be ruled out. Older children can always learn to use it themselves. However, it is imperative for the parent to know and understand the basics of a nebuliser. A few important points to keep in mind are as follows –