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Nebulizer Treatments for Infants

Nebulizer treatment is often prescribed for babies with respiratory problems, like asthma. Here is a brief overview about this type of treatment.
Sonia Nair
Last Updated: Mar 24, 2018
You might have seen people using inhalers for medical conditions, like asthma, cystic fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. However, some patients may not be able to hold these metered dose inhalers. This proves right for infants, very old people, and those with severe respiratory symptoms. In such cases, nebulizers are used for treatment.
What is a Nebulizer?
A nebulizer is a device used for administering medication to patients with respiratory conditions, like asthma. The most common and widely used type is compressor nebulizer, which consists of an air compressor that is connected to a cup provided for medication. This cup is attached to a mouthpiece or face mask. The compressor produces compressed air that is passed through the cup with liquid medicine. As the air comes in contact with the liquid medicine, an aerosol mist is formed; and this mist is inhaled by the patient through the mouthpiece or face mask. In case of nebulizer treatment for infants, usually a face mask is used instead of the mouthpiece.
In short, a nebulizer converts liquid medicine to aerosol mist that goes deep into the airways and alleviate inflammation. The medicine and moisture help to loosen the mucus and dilate airways, so that breathing becomes easier for the patients. A newer version, called ultrasonic nebulizer, is also available in the market. It uses high-frequency vibrations that disperse the liquid medication into fine particles that can be easily inhaled by the patient.
How to Use an Infant Nebulizer
The basic function of a nebulizer is to disperse medication, so that it can be easily inhaled. The medicine in the form of mist, is found to be very effective in alleviating the symptoms. For infants, you have to purchase a nebulizer machine with a face mask. While some types come with face masks, others have mouthpieces that are not suited for babies. Given below are some tips for using a nebulizer for infants.
  • Wash your hands properly and place the nebulizer machine on a stable surface.
  • Add the medicine to the cup provided for that purpose. You must strictly follow the dosage and other instructions given by the doctor.
  • Attach the cup to the machine and the face mask, using the tubes provided.
  • You have to secure the mask over the baby's face, so that he can breathe the medicine comfortably.
  • Once you turn on the machine, keep your baby engaged with toys, so that he does not try to push off the mask.
  • It will take around ten minutes for the process to finish. Once done, remove the mask and medicine cup from the machine. Wash them with lukewarm water and soap. Allow these parts to air dry, before storing.
  • Remove the mask, if the baby does not stop crying or is really irritable. Try to pacify him and use the nebulizer after some time.
In short, nebulizer treatment for infants is found to be very effective for relieving the symptoms of asthma and other respiratory complaints in babies. As the medicine is dispersed through vaporization, some people use a higher dose, so that the patient gets maximum benefit of the drug. This may result in overdosing and related problems. So, a nebulizer must be used strictly in accordance with the instructions of the doctor. Nebulizer treatment is safe for infants, if administered properly.