Nebulizer – Working, Operation, Pros, Cons, Application and Handling

A nebulizer is a type of machine that is used as a drug delivery device. The nebulizer provides the medication to the patient in the form of mist or aerosol. There are different types of nebulizers available in the market. Some of them are the jet nebulizer, ultrasonic nebulizer, and vibrating mesh. You can also find a portable type of nebulizer

Working of Nebulizer

Components of Nebulizer Machine
Image Source- https://cpr-savers.com/Compressor-Nebulizer

The power supply is used to activate the compressor. The compressor provides compressed air as an output. This air then flows through the tubing system and strikes the top piece. Then the air changes its direction. Thus the high-pressure air collides with the medicine present in the medicine cup. This causes the formation of the mist. Then the mist rises up from the medicine cup. From the medicine cup, it goes to the mask or mouthpiece. Finally, the mist goes to the lungs.

Nebulizer Mask Vs Nebulizer Mouthpiece

You can mainly have two options. One is the use of the mask while the other one is the use of the mouthpiece.

When it comes to the nebulizer machine, a mouthpiece is a better option. The mouthpiece allows the user to inhale the medication through the mouth and exhale it through the nose. Since the mouthpiece directly fits into the mouth, there is a very low chance of leakage of the aerosol. Similarly, by force inhalation, the mist can quickly spread to the bronchus.

However, when it comes to children and old-aged people, a mouthpiece may not be a suitable option. The old people may not be able to force inhale the mist. On the other hand, children may not be aware of the purpose of the nebulizer.  Thus, in such a case, there is a need for the nebulizer mask.

A nebulizer mask gives the user to breathe in and out from the mouth or nose.  However, there can be chances of leakages from the sides of the mask. The nebulizer mask may not properly fit around the face. If the mask is fixed tightly, the user may experience pain and red marks around the face.

How to use Nebulizer?

Before you start using a nebulizer, make sure to wash your hand with soap and water. Then, dry up your hand.

Now, connect the power supply to the compressor. The source of power can be AC supply, battery supply, USB charging, etc. Then connect the output of the compressor to a long tubing system. Also, connect the other end of the tubing to the medicine cup/nebulizer cup.

The medicine cup is used to hold the liquid medicine.  Do not completely fill the cup. You may find the level of maximum and the minimum range at the outer surface of the cup. Nowadays, most of the medicines used in the nebulizer machine come in a single-use container and are ready to use. In such a case, you do not need to worry about the over/underfilling of the medicine.

Do not over or underuse the medicine. For the dose of the medicine, consult with your doctor.

Connect the top piece on top of the medicine cup. Then connect the mask or the mouthpiece to the top piece. Besides these, there can be other modifications. For example, a T piece is used to connect the mouthpiece on one side and the reservoir tube on the other. The reservoir tube allows holding some extra amount of aerosol.

Now hold on to the mask or the mouthpiece in a horizontal position. Put on the mask or the mouthpiece. Then turn on the compressor. Then take a deep breath. Hold the breath for few seconds. Then release the air. Repeat the same process, until the medicine cup becomes empty.

The medication will end, once the medicine cup becomes empty. This will take about ten minutes. During that time, if you feel like coughing or sneezing, then turn off the compressor. Else, you will be wasting your medicine.

Nebulizer Medications

As per the requirement of the patients, doctors can prescribe different kinds of medications. Some of the most commonly used medications are as follows.

Based on the severity of the diseases, the doctor can prescribe you drugs of different doses. Similarly, they may prescribe you to use a mixture of different drugs at different volumes. Thus, I am unable to guide you with the treatment processes.

Applications of Nebulizer

Nebulizers can be used for the treatment of a number of diseases. Some of them are as follows.

The nebulizer is mostly needed for children and old people. The following video is related to Asthma Medication Delivery.

Advantages of Nebulizers

  • They are easier to handle and operate.
  • Unlike the inhalers, they are suitable for children or patients suffering from COPD.
  • They allow for the administration of a large amount of dose.
  • The portable nebulizer can be carried just like your mobile phone.
  • The time period of action of drugs is less.

Disadvantages of Nebulizers

  • The cost of a nebulizer is more than that of an inhaler.
  • The operating time is more than that of the inhaler.
  • Unlike the inhaler, it does not operate without a power source.


  • The internal lining of the tubing system should be dry. If the machine is not operated properly, then the liquid may periodically fill up the tubing system. Due to this reason, the compressor may not be able to supply sufficient air to the medicine cup. In such a case, there will not be sufficient formation of the mist.
  • If the top piece is damaged, there will not be the proper formation of the mist. In such a case, you will need to change the entire set of the medicine cup, top piece, tubing, etc. You may not be able to find a single piece in the market.
  • Do not bend the tubes carelessly. If the tube breaks at a certain point, or if there is a leakage in the tubing system, then the machine will not be able to produce sufficient mist.


  • Once the process of nebulization is over, clean the mouthpiece properly with soap water. Else, a layer of the residue of the drugs will deposit in the medicine cup. This can lead to several problems such as contamination, biofilm formation, etc.
  • You can dip the tubing system in a solution of vinegar and water (1 part vinegar and 3 part water) for the purpose of disinfection.
  • You can use Collins or the rectified spirit to clean the compressor.


If the nebulizer machine is not operating, then you are suggested to show it to the service person.

Internally, the machine consists of the circuit board, compressor, fuse, and switch. If the fuse or the switch is defective, the machine will not operate at all. In such a case, replace the fuse or the switch with the suitable one.

Sometimes, the piston of the compressor tends to come out. In such a case, the compressor will operate. However, it will not be able to produce sufficient compressed air. In such a case, take Fevi kwik or Super Glue and attach the piston to the compressor.

Sometimes, even when the compressor is working properly, there will not be the formation of sufficient mist. In such a case, replace a tubing system along with a medicine cup and the top piece. If the problem is solved, then the problem is related to the tubing system. Else, the compressor is faulty. This is possible due to the aging of the machine. In such a case, it is better to purchase a new machine.







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