What is a Nebulizer?

A nebulizer is an apparatus used to take a small volume of liquid medication and transform it into a mist to be inhaled into the lungs to help open up the airways and help the patient breathe better. There are different brands and styles of nebulizers. However, nebulizers are made of plastic and resemble a small cup like device. Because the nebulizer cup has tubing attached to it (which attaches to a compressor), the nebulizer is sometimes referred to as a “nebulizer circuit”.

Sometimes people refer to the nebulizer compressor as the nebulizer. This is not a totally accurate reference. However, because of this frequent use of the term, it is important when in conversation, to distinguish which item is being discussed. (The compressor or the circuit.) The nebulizer compressor is actually a small air pump to which the nebulizer circuit tubing is attached so that the pressure produced from the pump travels through the tubing to the nebulizer cup and the medication in the cup is transformed into a fine mist.

The patient inhales the medication into the lungs for the maximum therapeutic effect.

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