Nebulizers: Myths and Facts
In my Clinical practice I have seen so many parents and relatives of young children saying “NO to Nebulization”. Many parents do not want to nebulizer their kids as they think it causes addiction and is meant only for severe asthmatic patient.
Any person who is new to nebulization may have some misconceptions (especially lots of myth in public). The aim of this blog is to clear them.
What is Nebulizer?
It is a device which delivers liquid medicine in form of a mist inhaled in to the lungs. It is battery/electricity operated. Patients breathe through mouthpiece or face mask. They come in different shapes and sizes and create sound (as driven by a motor).
Myth #1: It will cause addiction and will have to be used every time.
Fact: Nebulization is a mode of delivering a medicine. It does not cause addiction. Addiction is a attribute of drug (or medicine); it does not depend on mode of delivery. If any medicine has addiction potential, it will be for every mode of delivery i.e. oral, intravenous, intramuscular etc.
Myth#2: It is very strong i.e very high dose of medicines given through it.
Facts: Doses of medicine is very less as compared to oral medicine. As drug goes directly where it is intended lower dose is needed. (Up to 100 to 1000 times less dose is needed in nebulizer as compared to oral or intravenous medicine).
Myth#3: It has more side effects
Facts: Side effects are far less with nebulizers. As the drug is delivered directly into the lungs where it has to act; hence side effects are less. Whereas oral medications in form of syrups and dispersal tablets first goes into stomach where they are absorbed and then distributed in body so side effects are more.
Myth#4: It takes longer time for drug to start acting.
Facts: Wrong. As the medicine is going in form of mist directly into the lungs, so it will act faster and give relief much more quickly than oral medication.
Myth#5: It is very expensive.
Facts: No, the cost of each vial of medicine is very low as compared to oral medicines. And in case condition of child worsens than cost of one day of hospitalization will be much more than entire course of nebulization.
Myth#6: It is used ONLY for ASTHMA patients.
Facts: Nebulization is used in many conditions in children eg. Bronchiolitis, Wheeze associated lower respiratory tract infection (WLARI), RSV infection, emphysema. Most commonly it helps via dilating respiratory passage (bronchodilation) or decreasing edema (in case epinephrine is used). For children it is difficult to spit out sputum, so use of nebulization might help.
Myth#7: It is very complicated.
Facts: It is very simple and easiest way. You just have to connect the tubing with mask and fill the medicine and turn on the device. Child can breathe normally; no need to take deep breathing. Even your child can do it on its own and may feel like it’s a playful activity rather than and forceful thing (giving oral medicines). Inhalers are more complicated for children.
Myth#8: Proper dose is not delivered via nebulizer as most of it will go in air.
Fact: Nebulizers are considered as the best way to deliver the medicines in children (in case of hyper reacting airway illness). With inhalers you need to coordinate breathing with medicine dispersal. Oral medications can have erratic absorption as it depends on condition of gut (stomach upset can lead to poor absorption of medicines).
Myth#9: You have to carry your nebulizer with you.
Fact: Now, so many portable ones are there, so it is very easy to carry them.
Myth#10: My baby is very small, it may harm the baby.
Facts: No. Smaller the baby more difficult it s for them to take out their flem. Nebulization will help them to take out all the secretions as it will dilate the respiratory passage. Nebulization will not harm your baby.
And lastly have faith in your doctor; they will not advise anything that is not good for baby. Remember both parents and doctors want your baby to get well soon.
Feel free to contact your child specialist or contact us at MAYA CLINIC.
Dr Rahul Varma
” Healthy Kids, Happy Family”