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What Are the Benefits of Nebulizers?

author image Sharon Perkins
A registered nurse with more than 25 years of experience in oncology, labor/delivery, neonatal intensive care, infertility and ophthalmology, Sharon Perkins has also coauthored and edited numerous health books for the Wiley "Dummies" series. Perkins also has extensive experience working in home health with medically fragile pediatric patients.
What Are the Benefits of Nebulizers?
Portrait of a little girl using a nebulizer Photo Credit Nikodash/iStock/Getty Images

Reaching for your nebulizer if you have asthma or other respiratory problems becomes as natural as putting on your glasses in the morning if you have vision problems. Nebulizers deliver liquid or aerosol medications that help you breathe to your lungs via a mask or mouthpiece. Medications given via nebulizer can treat acute conditions or can prevent respiratory problems from developing. Nebulizers have benefits as a treatment for lung disease over oral medications or inhalers.

Effective Medication Delivery

Nebulizers send medications where they're needed most -- your lungs. Unlike systemic medications, which take time to pass through the gastrointesinal tract to your bloodstream, nebulizers deliver medications very quickly directly to the respiratory tract. Albuterol, a commonly used bronchodilator, begins to work in around five minutes when given in nebulizer form, compared to around 30 minutes when given orally, the American Association for Respiratory Care reports.


Nebulizer treatments can prevent respiratory problems from developing as well as treat acute breathing emergencies. Long-term bronchodilators taken on a daily basis can keep the bronchial tubes open. Steroids reduce inflammation and mucus production in the lungs, which can block oxygen flow.

Ease of Use

Nebulizers require very little effort to use. Unlike inhalers, which generally require you to breathe in when you release the medication, the medication in a nebulizer treatment flows continuously. You breathe normally during the treatment. Newer nebulizers are small enough to be portable, although not quite as portable as inhalers, which fit easily into a pocket. Powered by battery or electricity, nebulizers take between five and 10 minutes to deliver a full dose of medication. Even babies or severely debilitated people can receive medication by nebulizer.

Fewer Side Effects

Nebulizer therapy reduces the risk of side effects compared to oral administration of the same medications. Nebulizers have a lower risk of short-term side effects such as headache, tremors or rapid heartbeat. Nebulizers also reduce the risk of long-term complications of steroids such as bone loss, weight gain, high blood pressure, high blood glucose or susceptibility to infection.

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