It’s easier said than done to get kids to take their medicine. When children are sick, they become pickier and refuse to take the medication in any form, and if given orally, they will spit it out.
However, in some situations, taking medication is unavoidable, and nebulizers are the most convenient choice for this.
A nebulizer can help treat certain respiratory problems in babies and infants by helping them to breathe naturally when taking medicine into their bodies.
What exactly is a nebulizer?
A nebulizer is a device that disperses medicine into aerosol form for inhalation.
The child then breathes in the medication along with the air to get it into their lungs.
Pressurized air is pumped into the liquid by the nebulizer. The baby breathes it in through a mouthpiece or face mask until it has developed a fine mist.
The nebulizer is a device that uses the lungs to administer liquid drugs to the body.
The unit, which is driven by electricity, transforms the liquid into fine droplets, resulting in an aerosol spray or mist.
As a result, they can easily breathe into their lungs using a mouthpiece or mask attached to the unit.
Nebulizers allow the medicine to reach your child’s airway, where it is most useful.
This can then help with a variety of conditions, including asthma, emphysema, sinusitis, bronchitis, and more.
Even filled with just saline water, this is a very useful device to relieve colds and coughs.
What are child-specific nebulizers?
Many nebulizers for children feature fun designs and stickers for their enjoyment.
They will come equipped with fun lights and sounds instead of dealing with a noisy, intimidating machine that may frighten young children.
Also, since children’s nebulizers weigh just about 3.5 pounds, they’re very compact and can be used anywhere.
Many of these machines are also battery-operated and can even be used with a car’s power port adapter.
Benefits of these nebulizers include:
- The maximum weight of a child-specific nebulizer is about 3.5 pounds.
- They are equipped with child-friendly safety features.
- They make the masks to match the smaller features of a child’s face.
- They built the machines with children in mind so the designs include fun animals like cats, dogs, and other children’s characters.
Most importantly, choose a nebulizer that is not only easy on your wallet and cost-effective but also ensures that it is simple to thoroughly clean.
If you are going to be using it at home, make sure it is simple to use and preferably made by a well-known brand, with a decent number of excellent reviews.
Nebulizers vs. Inhalers
Both nebulizers and inhalers can deliver a variety of asthma drugs, including both emergency and long-term regulation medications.
However, there are a few fundamental distinctions.
Inhalers are small and lightweight. Metered-dose inhalers (MDIs) are the most common kind, and when you squeeze them, they spray a precise amount of medication.
Many people who use them often use a tube known as a spacer, which makes getting the right amount of medicine easier. Getting the drug into an MDI with a spacer normally takes a few minutes or less.
Since using an inhaler requires some coordination, doctors often advise parents to use a nebulizer for very young children and infants.
Since the machine does most of the work, the child just has to normally breathe through the mask to intake the medication.
However, from a clinical standpoint, both options are equally viable and effective.
Types of medication
Nebulizers can deliver a variety of drugs, that can help ease several ailments for children and adults alike. These include:
Antibiotics, which may be inhaled to cure most bacterial infections.
Albuterol or levalbuterol, which are examples of beta-agonists. This means that they aid in the relaxation of the airways and the facilitation of breathing.
Asthma-related inflammation may be treated with inhaled corticosteroids.
Dornase alfa (Pulmozyme) loosens dense mucus in the airways, which helps to treat cystic fibrosis.
The liquid filled in the nebulizer may also be non-medicated. In case of a dry throat or general tiredness, a saline solution may be the easiest fix.
Using a simple saline liquid instead of medication is a great and natural way to help children get healthier when the symptoms are mild. This will moisten the membrane gently and relieves dryness in the airway.
Using a nebulizer
Ensure that your child wears the mask for the entire duration of the procedure, which may last up to 15 minutes. At the end of this, the nebulizer may begin to sputter and make some noise. When the chamber is empty, you can turn off the nebulizer.
Every day, clean your nebulizer chamber. Unscrew the plastic chamber and soak for 15 minutes in warm soapy water. Run it underwater, shake off the excess water, and hang it to dry.
Cleaning your nebulizer
After each use, wash the nebulizer. But, to ensure thorough cleansing, it also needs to be cleaned completely once a week.
To do so, follow these steps:
- Soak the mask, top portion, and medicine cup for 30 minutes or more according to the manufacturer’s instructions in a vinegar and water solution.
- Allow it to air dry in a clean, cool place.
- Using a disinfectant wipe, clean the compressor and tubing. We should not submerge them in the water for too long.
- Replace the air filter every 6 months or as directed by the manufacturer.
Tips for Better Results
The most difficult aspect of using a nebulizer is persuading young children to use it.
Turning it into a fun game, or using a reward system can make it far easier for both you and your kids.
Knowing that if they have to be nebulized, regardless of the time of the day, they can crawl into Mommy and Daddy’s bed and watch TV for 15 minutes can make a vast difference in how much they cooperate with you.
Experts believe if kids can do something fun when using a nebulizer, they are less nervous about using it.
To aid them along these lines, you can allow your child to watch their favorite TV program or read a book while in the mask.
Try calling it their Batman or Superman mask or anything else that will make it stand out positively.
Reminding the kids that using the mask will make them feel better and helping them understand why they have to use is very important as well.
Some children are terrified of breathing into a machine, especially when it is producing some sort of vapor other than regular air.
To help reduce this fear, you can decorate or invest in colored masks to make them more child-friendly and attractive. You can name it after their toy, or favorite fictional character and even give it a fun nickname to call it by.
Particularly for younger children, getting them use to this can be a struggle.
But since babies like routine, integrating the medication into this everyday routine can make it a habitual practice.
Familiarize the nebulizer with the baby by giving it a special name and making the procedure interesting by reading a song, singing, or using toys.
You can also place the baby in a highchair if at all necessary to avoid too much squirming and tantrums. If this isn’t possible, rest them on your lap for warmth and stability.
In maintaining the machine itself, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the very last word.
If it is specified to replace the cups periodically, after a certain number of usages or months – try to stick to that recommendation.
If not, your nebulizer might stop working well and your child will no longer get the full benefit of the medication that they are supposed to be inhaling completely.
Frequently Asked Questions About Nebulizers:
When should a child use a nebulizer?
A doctor may prescribe a nebulizer for an infant who has swollen airways, shortness of breath, or any other breathing problem.
These symptoms could be caused by:
1. Chronic respiratory conditions, such as asthma or cystic fibrosis
2. Lung infections, such as pneumonia
3. Severe allergic reactions.
Is a nebulizer good for my child?
Nebulizers are a safe and reliable way to administer medicine to a baby if the parent follows the doctor’s instructions and the cleaning instructions.
However, it is also crucial to monitor the baby because they may have an unpleasant reaction to the medication, particularly if it’s their first time.
Is nebulizer good for a cough?
While nebulizers aren’t often prescribed for coughs, they can help alleviate coughs and other symptoms associated with respiratory illnesses. They help you breathe easier by reducing coughing, sputum development, and chest tightness.
How do I nebulize my child at home?
Steps to nebulize your child at home:
1. Wash hands thoroughly and make sure they are completely dry.
2. Collect the nebulizer, tubing, and mask and assemble them.
3. Fill the medicine cup with the prescribed dosage of medication, and close the cap tightly to avoid leakage.
4. Attach the nebulizer to one end of the tube and the medicine cup to the other.
5. Place the mask on the baby’s face and adjust it to his or her comfort and liking.
6. Switch on the nebulizer after plugging it in. There should be some mist produced visibly.
The older the machine, the longer it may take. It can take up to 25 minutes for some older nebulizers to deliver the drug.
To stop wasting the medicine, turn off the nebulizer if the procedure has to be interrupted.
7. When the medicine cup is empty, turn off the machine.
8. Disassemble the nebulizer and wash the medicine cup and mask in warm soapy water, rinsing well and allowing to air dry. Once dry, store in a dry place.
Is frequent nebulization harmful?
The nebulizer solution is normally recommended to be used three to four times a day.
Follow the instructions on your prescription label closely, and if there is something you don’t understand, ask your doctor or nurse to explain it to you.
Ensure to follow the medication’s instructions and do not take more or less of it, or more often than the doctor prescribes.