Breathing treatments using a nebulizer at home are often prescribed to treat asthma, emphysema and other respiratory illnesses. Nebulizers are easy to use and effective.
If you already have your compressor and nebulizer to do treatments at home, you may have thought there was nothing left to consider. But you have options when it comes to nebulizers including disposable and reusable.
There is no one perfect choice. But it’s helpful to learn more about each to decide what will work best for you.
If you’re new to using nebulizers, a good place to start is understanding more about your equipment. When you are prescribed breathing treatments at home, you need an air compressor and a nebulizer. The air compressor is just what it sounds like. It is a small device that compresses room air and drives the nebulizer.
The nebulizer is the device that is used to administer the medication. The nebulizer consists of a cup that holds liquid medication and a mouthpiece or mask to inhale the medication through. A thin tube connects the nebulizer cup to the air compressor. The liquid medicine is turned into a mist that is inhaled.
Disposable and Reusable Nebulizers
Both disposable and reusable nebulizers are available. Both units have similar parts including a cup to hold the medication. The difference between disposable and reusable nebulizers is the length of time you can use one.
Disposable nebulizers, which hospitals often use, can be used for about ten treatments. But it’s best to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. If they are used after that period, the material the nebulizer is made of may break down. The mist may slow, which prevents you from getting a full treatment.
Reusable nebulizers can be used much longer. They can usually be used for about six months. Keep in mind, the six-month recommendation is a rough estimate and is not written in stone. If your reusable nebulizer stops producing a mist or the mist has slowed, and other parts of your machine are working, it may be time to change your nebulizer.
If you choose a reusable nebulizer, it’s important to clean it regularly as instructed by the manufacturer. It may be easier to use a disposal nebulizer since each unit is only intended for short term and little cleaning is involved. But over time, the cost of disposable nebulizers may add up. One option is to have a reusable nebulizer for at home use and have a disposable unit on hand for travel.