Smaller children usually are given nebulizers, although some children can manage an inhaler with a mask. Older children may be given either.
What is a nebulizer?
A nebulizer is a small machine that is used to make liquid medication into an aerosol. The machine has tubing connected to it and inside there is a reservoir where the medication is added. The tubing can be connected to a mask or a mouthpiece and the patient turns the machine on and breathes in until the medication has all been aerosolized.
Here are some pictures of nebulizers:
mask being used for treatment
Both controller and rescue medications can be given via nebulizer. Some commonly used nebulizer medications are albuterol, atrovent, or pulmicort.
One drawback is that the nebulizer treatment can take about 10 minutes. This can be time consuming if you are doing several treatments a day or have a small child who needs the medication.
Inhalers are smaller, do not require special equipment and are much quicker to administer. Using an inhaler requires coordination, but they can be used with a spacer and a mask which can even be used by an infant.
Here are some pictures of inhalers:
with spacer and no mask
Some commonly used inhaler medications are albuterol, flovent and combivent.
Talk to your health care provider about which method is best for you or your child. It depends on your comfort level with the equipment, age of the child and personal preferences.
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