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Nebulizers. Everything You Need to Know & Buy Online

What is a nebulizer?

How do nebulizers & nebulizer systems work?

Types of nebulizers

Who should use a nebulizer?

How do I use a nebulizer?

How do I clean a nebulizer?

Nebulizer features

Traveling with a nebulizer

Choosing the right nebulizer

Best nebulizer brands

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Keeping yourself or your loved ones safe and healthy is a number one priority. Whether your loved one is experiencing short-term respiratory concerns like the common cold or has more long-term needs due to cystic fibrosis, asthma, or COPD, a nebulizer system may be the solution they need for treatment and mitigating symptoms. With a range of options, features, and accessories, it can be a challenge deciding which products are best for you and your loved one—that’s why we created this extensive guide with everything you need to know so you can take a deep breath.


Whether you have a common cold, allergies, cystic fibrosis, asthma, or COPD, always consult your healthcareprovider for medical advice.

What is a nebulizer?

Nebulizers are respiratory machines designed to help users breathe easier. They work by turning liquid (either saline, medication, or both) into a mist that’s inhaled through the mouth and nose. They can be used to treat:


  1. Asthma
  2. COPD
  3. Cystic fibrosis
  4. Respiratory infections
  5. Bronchitis
  6. Respiratory challenges such as common colds or allergies


When most people speak about “nebulizers” they’re often speaking about kits or systems which typically include:


  1. The nebulizer itself
  2. A compressor
  3. A face mask or mouthpiece
  4. In many cases, saline solution, though this may need to be purchased separately


Read: Nebulizer vs Inhaler

How do nebulizers & nebulizer systems work?

In a nebulizer system, the air compressor serves as a base and connects to the container for liquid medicine or saline. Then, a tube connects the base to a mouthpiece or mask to deliver medicine for inhalation.


Nebulizers work by using pressurized air to turn liquid into a fine mist or aerosol. This way, liquid medication can be inhaled. If you have a respiratory problem or infection, this light mist can be much easier to inhale than liquid medication or even medication from a metered-dose inhaler (MDI).



Some common medications distributed by nebulizer include:


  1. Ipratropium
  2. Abluterol
  3. Budesonide
  4. Formoterol


Be sure to only use a nebulizer and liquid medication when expressly instructed by your doctor.

Populare Nebulizer Kits

Drive Medical

Power Neb Ultra Nebulizer Kit

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MCKESSON

Nebulizer Kit, Adult Aerosol Mask

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SALTER LABS

8900 Series Nebulizer Kit

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MCKESSON

Nebulizer Kit, Child Aerosol Mask

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MCKESSON

Handheld Nebulizer Kit

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B & F MEDICAL

F Medical Nebulizer Kit

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What are the different kinds of nebulizers?

There are really two primary types of nebulizers:

Standard, full nebulizer kits.

These include the compressor, mask, and tubing, and plug into an outlet in your home.

Portable nebulizers

These function similarly to standard nebulizers but are smaller, easier to transport, and battery-powered.

Who should use a nebulizer

Whether or not this tool is right for you really depends on the recommendation from your doctor. For some users, inhalers may be a better option—speak to your physician if you feel that a nebulizer may be a better option for your treatment.


In general, nebulizers are a simpler solution than inhalers for those:


  1. Struggling to take a breath during an asthma attack
  2. That find it difficult to use an inhaler
  3. Who are young children or are non-verbal


    How do I use a nebulizer?

    Each one will come with unique instructions for use, so pay careful attention to the manual that comes with your device.


    Most standard nebulizers will follow the instructions below:


    1. Start by plugging in your device (or switching it on if it’s battery-powered) and washing your hands
    2. Place the required medicine and/or saline into the liquid container. Your doctor will instruct you on how to measure this appropriately
    3. Connect the tube from the liquid container to the compressor
    4. Be sure the mouthpiece or mask is attached to the compressor as well
    5. Switch it on and be sure it begins to mist
    6. Place the mask over your mouth or, if it has a mouthpiece, be sure to tightly close your mouth around it
    7. During treatment, keep the liquid container standing upright

    How do I clean a nebulizer?

    Cleaning your nebulizer is critical—preventing the growth of bacteria and other germs is a key step in maintaining your health and the effectiveness of your treatments.

    You should clean it after each use, and disinfect it every other time you use it.



    How to clean your nebulizer:


    1. Remove the mouthpiece or mask and the container for the saline
    2. Wash the medicine container and mask with hot water and dish soap
    3. Shake off excess water and reattach both pieces to your machine
    4. Switch the machine on and allow it to air dry


    How to disinfect your nebulizer:


    1. Remove the mouthpiece or mask and the container for liquid medicine
    2. Soak pieces in one part white vinegar, three parts hot water, for one hour
    3. Allow pieces to air dry

    Nebulizer features. What can you find?

    In most cases, your doctor will recommend the best nebulizer model for your needs. That being said, you will have some options like:


    Electric or battery-powered features


    1. Those who spend most of their time at home or are bed-bound should opt for an electric option. These plug into the wall and are a more standard option
    2. Those who may travel may want to invest in a battery-powered option. These tend to be more compact and can be used without a wall outlet.


    Mouthpiece versus mask


    1. Many standard nebulizers come with a mouthpiece, which is inserted directly into the mouth for treatment.
    2. The mask option tends to be more efficient, as you inhale more medicine at a time. Masks are also a preferred solution for those caring for young children (children struggle to hold mouthpieces in).


    Pediatric or Adult Nebulizers


    There are also “pediatric” varieties designed to support young children. Teenagers and adults should opt for standard options.


    Lightweight or Compact Varieties


    Some nebulizers come in a “lightweight,” or “compact,” option. These are ideal for those that travel, have limited space in their homes, or simply want to be able to move it from room to room more conveniently.

    How do you travel with a nebulizer?

    For many users and caregivers, having your nebulizer near you at all times can be important for your overall health, especially if you’re actively undergoing treatment for a particular condition. If you’re traveling and need to use a nebulizer, we recommend:


    1. Select a portable option. These are more compact, operate on battery, and tend to be more lightweight than traditional options
    2. Be sure to protect it from heat exposure. Keep it in a bag or container that will prevent it from resting in direct sunlight.
    3. If you’re bringing medication that requires refrigeration, be sure to bring a cooler for these supplies.
    4. If you’re dealing with extreme hot or cold weather, carry it inside with you (make sure you don’t leave it in a hot or very cold vehicle).
    5. Finally, if you’ll be traveling somewhere for longer than your prescription lasts, be sure to coordinate with your doctor ahead of time about setting up prescriptions at pharmacies near where you’ll be traveling

    How do I choose which nebulizer is right for me?

    When deciding which nebulizer is right for your needs, the most important thing is to speak to your doctor about his or her recommendation. Nebulizers have varying “particle sizes” they are able to support, and what particle size you need depends on your unique treatment. For example, those treating COPD will need a smaller particle size, but those treating a cold would need larger particle sizes.


    After you’ve determined the right particle size for your needs, you’ll want to consider:


    1. Whether you’d prefer a standard or portable model
    2. How durable of a machine do you need? Less durable products tend to be more affordable, but for long-term treatments, you’ll want something that’ll last
    3. If the person being treated is experiencing failing eyesight or any cognitive decline, you may want to look for an option with a very simple front panel
    4. If the person being treated is a child, you may want to look for systems that don’t make as much noise


    What are the best brands of nebulizers?

    Caregivers love nebulizers from brands like Salter Labs, MEDNEB+, and McKesson!

    What are the best nebulizers?

    The one that's best for you really depends on your unique needs. Some of our caregivers’ favorites:


    1. Power Neb Ultra Nebulizer Kit

      Powerful and sturdy, this nebulizer can deliver particle sizes of less than 5 microns.

    2. Medneb+ Nebulizer Compressor System

      This system features 7 feet of kink-resistant tubing, making it an ideal choice for those caring for bed-bound loved ones. It can deliver particles sizes of .5 microns, all the way up to 10 microns, depending on your needs.

    3. McKesson Compressor Nebulizer System

      This is an economical option ideal for those with short-term treatment needs. With a lightweight and compact design, this machine is simple to store and move from room to room.