If you find yourself sniffling, battling chest congestion, or struggling to breathe, you may need a nebulizer. Nebulizer machines help both children and adults find respiratory relief for a variety of conditions. This is especially true during allergy and flu seasons when asthmatic symptoms can worsen.
How Nebulizers Ease Flu Symptoms
Nebulizers can provide relief during a bout with the flu, and they also assist with bad colds, infection, bronchitis, and chronic conditions such as COPD. Oftentimes, flu symptoms are often mistaken for a bad cold.
Know that flu symptoms come on much more quickly while cold symptoms may gradually develop over a few days. Coughing, sore throat, and sneezing are common symptoms of both illnesses, but with the flu, muscle aches, chills, high fevers, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea can also occur.
As the seasons change, rates of asthma increase due to allergens and pollens being released into the air. Colds and flu can infect the lungs, leading to an increase in asthma symptoms and asthma attacks.
Plus, children and adults with asthma are more likely to develop pneumonia and other acute respiratory diseases after contracting the flu. Asthma is actually the most common condition among children hospitalized with the flu.
With the use of a nebulizer to assist with treating asthma and the flu, inflammation can be reduced and the airways can be opened to make it easier to breathe.
A nebulizer machine is essentially an air compressor that delivers a consistent flow of pressurized air through a mouthpiece. Nebulizers turn liquid medicine into a mist that can be quickly inhaled with the help of the airflow in order to provide quick relief to the lungs. Depending on the nebulizer medication, nebulizers can assist with opening the airways, reducing inflammation, and breaking up congestion to help patients breathe easier.
Bronchodilators: Bronchodilators are often prescribed to assist with respiratory conditions such as asthma or COPD because they open up the airways to make breathing easier.
Antibiotics: Antibiotics can be delivered by a nebulizer straight to the lungs or respiratory system in the event of a severe respiratory infection.
Sterile saline solutions: Delivering sterile saline to your respiratory system can help open the airways, thin secretions, and loosen mucus in the lungs, making it easier to cough up or clear.
Note: Nebulizers are available through insurance, though a doctor’s prescription is required.
Why Use A Nebulizer Instead of an Inhaler?
While inhalers are smaller handheld devices handy for delivering puffs of medication straight to the lungs, many patients find nebulizers easier to use, especially when they have severe respiratory issues, like the flu.
This is because an inhaler must be aimed correctly and used with a deep inhale to pull the pre-measured dose of medicine into your lungs. The process of using an inhaler can take a little practice to master, but using a spacer can help with correctly aiming the medicine.
With a nebulizer, all you need to do is breathe normally for about 10 to 15 minutes until all of the medicine has been delivered. Some patients use a nebulizer twice a day according to their treatment plan.
Nebulizers are a bit larger than inhalers, but there are portable models that are battery-powered. You can also use a nebulizer in the car with an AC adaptor.
How To Use A Nebulizer
1. Wash your hands with soap and warm water.
2. Connect the hose to the compressor.
3. Fill up the medicine cup according to your prescription.
4. Attach your mouthpiece/mask and hose to the medicine cup.
5. Put your mask on or hold your mouthpiece in your mouth with your lips firmly around it.
6. Turn your nebulizer on and breathe through your mouth until all of the medicine is gone.
7. Turn off your nebulizer and wash the medicine and mouthpiece. Allow them to air dry until your next session.
How To Prevent the Flu
If you haven’t taken steps to prevent the flu this season, it’s not too late to get started.
The best defense is getting a flu shot. It releases antibodies to protect you from the most common virus strains during flu season, which peaks from November to March. Getting your flu shot late is better than not getting it at all.
Stay away from sick people who are sneezing and coughing. When respiratory secretions are expelled they can travel up to three feet.
Clean communal spaces daily by disinfecting surfaces. Wash your hands after touching any communal spaces such as doorknobs, the break room coffee pot, subway poles, etc.
Keep your hands away from your mouth and nose to avoid transferring the virus.
Take care of yourself by getting enough rest. Get seven to nine hours of sleep per night to help boost your immune system against viruses. Also, relax. Take a load off. Stress can increase the risk of getting infected.
Fortify your diet with nutritious foods to strengthen your immune system with vitamins and minerals. Also, drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.
Information provided on the Aeroflow Healthcare blog is not intended as a substitute to medical advice or care. Aeroflow Healthcare recommends consulting a doctor if you are experiencing medical issues or concerns.