Although both the inhaler and the nebulizer are used for procedures called inhalations, these devices are different. And modern parents are wondering what exactly is the difference and which device is preferable to use for treating a child.
A nebulizer is a device in which liquid medications become aerosol and enter the respiratory system of a child. Depending on the method of converting drugs, such a device is ultrasonic (ultrasound is used to dispense the drug) or compressor (an aerosol is formed due to the operation of the compressor). There are also electron-mesh models (mesh).
Inhalers are devices that help inject various aerosols into the human body for the treatment and prevention of respiratory diseases. They all convert drugs into a suspended composition, providing steam or drip. The inhaler can be steam, compressor, ultrasonic or mesh apparatus. As you can see, the nebulizer is a subspecies of the inhaler.
Let us analyze the main differences between the steam inhaler and any kind of nebulizers:
Used for steam inhalation (steam injection)
Used to convert liquid drugs into suspended particles (drip)
Medicines heat up to steam
Medicines under the influence of ultrasound, compressor or membrane become the smallest aerosol
Delivers medications primarily to the upper respiratory system.
Provides medication in any part of the respiratory system, including the lower respiratory tract
Herbal decoctions, homeopathic preparations and oils can be used for the procedures.
The use of decoctions of herbs and oils is prohibited
Suitable for the treatment of common colds and ARVI with mild
Required for the treatment of complex diseases of the respiratory tract, for example, bronchial asthma or acute bronchitis
Early childhood use can be dangerous due to hot steam.
Safe to use since birth
Not used for treatment with antibiotics, mucolytics, hormonal and other drugs.
Delivers drugs of bronchodilators, antibiotics, mucolytics, hormones and other drugs to the bronchi and lungs in liquid form
What to choose?
In childhood, nebulizers are more preferable, since the child may be afraid of steam. Some models of such devices can be used even while the baby is sleeping from an early age.
A steam inhaler without problems can be used by older children and adults.
If a child has a common viral infection or a simple cold, there is no special need for a nebulizer. Carrying out steam inhalations will cope with such problems. In the case when the medicine needs to be delivered to the bronchi and alveoli, you should use a nebulizer capable of forming an aerosol with the smallest particles. For example, the nebulizer is indispensable for children with asthma.
As for the cost, the price range of nebulizers and steam inhalers presented in pharmacies is quite wide. At the same time, on average, a steam inhaler costs 30–40% less than any nebulizer, since the principle of operation with nebulizers is more complicated.
General instructions for use
Each device has its own instructions, but in most cases it includes the following steps:
- Filling drug special capacity.
- Putting the mask on the face of the child.
- Turning on the device and carrying out the procedure for about 10-15 minutes.
- If you are going to buy a nebulizer, decide on the type of device, since each of them has its drawbacks. For example, the compressor apparatus is quite dimensional and noisy, the ultrasound is not suitable for all drugs, and the mesh nebulizer is quite expensive.
- Remember that you can not pour herbal infusions and oil solutions into the nebulizer. If in the first case it is fraught with only damage to the device, then in the second – the risk of the appearance of an oily pneumonia that is complicated in the treatment.
- The use of steam inhalers at elevated temperatures is prohibited. As for the nebulizer, the application is permissible, if the temperature is not higher than +380, and the child has bronchospasm.
- Before you buy an inhaler for the treatment of a child, it is necessary to consult a pediatrician. Remember that self-treatment in some cases is a serious danger.
About when it is necessary to acquire a nebulizer, see the transfer of Dr. E. Komarovsky.