Inhaler vs Nebulizer: Breaking down the differences Inhaler vs Nebulizer: Breaking down the differences

It can be hard to catch your breath when you have a chronic respiratory disorder like asthma. Devices like inhalers and nebulisers can help you breathe easier and get through your day without having to gasp for air.

Nebulisers and inhalers are medical devices that deliver medicine to your lungs, but there are some differences in their usage, design, and operation.

What’s an Inhaler?

Inhalers are handheld devices that can fit in the palm of your hand. They are intended to be used orally and deliver mists of medicine directly into your lungs. Inhalers can be prescribed to patients with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis, and other chronic lung conditions. They can also sometimes be prescribed for people with diabetes, bronchitis, and the flu.

There are two main types of inhalers:

  1. Preventer Inhaler
  2. Rescue Inhaler

Preventer Inhaler

A preventer inhaler is used every day to provide medicine to prevent the likelihood of an asthma attack. Preventer inhalers are sometimes called long-acting inhalers. They should only be used with corticosteroids and won’t work for asthma attacks. Preventer inhalers provide a low dose of medicine designed to reduce a build-up of inflammation in the airways. Using this type of inhaler on a regular basis makes asthma attacks less likely.

Rescue Inhalers

Rescue inhalers are used when a person experiences acute breathing difficulty. Also called short-acting or reliever inhalers, recue inhalers deliver a high dose of medicine designed to quickly counteract the symptoms of sudden asthma symptoms. They should start working within a few minutes and the effects can last for up to 4 hours. Some people also use them before physical exercise to prevent exercise-induced asthma.

To make it easier for patients to tell the difference between their inhalers, preventer inhalers are usually brown in colour while rescue inhalers are blue in colour.

When you need to use your inhaler, you should:

  • Shake the device before using it and between puffs
  • Exhale completely
  • Bring the inhaler to your mouth
  • Breathe in deeply while pressing down on the button
  • Hold your breath for at least 5 seconds
  • Repeat if directed to do so
  • Replace the cap on your inhaler when you’re done

What’s a Nebuliser?

A nebuliser is a medical device that is used to deliver medicine quickly to people with certain respiratory conditions. It works by turning liquid medicine into a fine mist or spray that a person inhales through a mouthpiece or mask. Aerosolised medications reach the lungs and respiratory system much quicker than other forms of medicine so the effects should be felt right away.

Nebulisers are used by adults with asthma, COPD, bronchiectasis, and cystic fibrosis. They can also be used with short-acting bronchodilators in a manner similar to recue inhalers.

While they deliver medicine to the lungs through a spray, nebulisers are different to inhalers. They’re handheld tabletop or portable devices that are usually larger than inhalers. Nebulisers also run batteries or through electrical outlets and won’t work without enough power.

There are three main types of nebulisers:

  1. Ultrasonic: Ultrasonic nebulisers create mist through high-frequency vibrations.
  2. Mesh: In mesh nebulisers, the medicine passes through a fine mesh to turn it into a spray.
  3. Jet: Jet nebulisers used compressed gas to turn the medicine into an aerosol.

Medicines used in nebulisers are called nebules. They can include:

  • Bronchodilators
  • Salbutamol nebules
  • Corticosteroids
  • Antibiotics
  • Saline solutions

Each nebuliser works a bit differently so if you’ve been prescribed one, your doctor or pharmacist will go over its use with you. It’s important to familiarise yourself with your nebuliser before you use it so that it gives you the maximum therapeutic benefit. They might seem complicated, but they are fairly straightforward to use. This is just a general guide, but to use a nebuliser you should:

  1. Thoroughly wash your hands
  2. Place all the pieces of your nebuliser on a clean, flat surface
  3. Add the correct dose of your medicine to the medicine cup
  4. Attach the mask, mouthpiece, top, and tubing as per your instructions
  5. Power up the nebuliser and hold the mouthpiece and medicine cup upright
  6. Take long, slow breathes through the mouthpiece and ensure you get all the medicine

You need to clean your nebuliser after every use to prevent contamination and infection. Rinse the medicine cup thoroughly with warm water and allow it to air dry on a clean piece of kitchen roll. If you don’t need your nebuliser for the rest of the day, wash the mouthpiece/mask with warm water and a mild detergent. After rinsing it, let it air dry. You don’t need to wash the tubing.

In addition to rinsing the mask and medicine cup, you should disinfect your equipment on a regular basis according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When your nebuliser isn’t in use, store it in a cool, dry, and dark place (unless your device needs to be stored in the fridge).

What is a Ventolin Inhaler?

Ventolin is the brand name for Salbutamol, a medication used to relieve symptoms of asthma like coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, and chest tightness. Salbutamol works by relaxing the airways to make it easier to breathe and should provide immediate effects against an asthma attack. They do not contain corticosteroids.

The ventolin inhaler for effective asthma relief

Your GP or prescriber will tell you how many puffs you should take during an asthma attack. In general, though, you should only take 2 puffs a total of 4 times a day each 24 hours. Many people find one puff is enough to stop their symptoms. The effects of salbutamol should start within 5 minutes.

Asthma suffers should only use Ventolin inhalers for asthma attacks. They will not provide long-term relief from symptoms like preventer inhalers do. If your asthma is fairly mild or rarely flares up, a reliever inhaler like Ventolin may be enough to manage your asthma. You should consider using a preventer inhaler if you’re turning to Ventolin several times a week. You can buy your Ventolin inhaler online in the UK from us. Visit us today to buy your asthma inhalers and salbutamol nebules online in the UK at cheap prices.