What Are the Different Types of Nebulizer Supplies?

Larry Ray Palmer

Nebulizers are used to deliver inhalant medicines in aerosol form. To perform this function, several different nebulizer parts and accessories work together to mix air and liquid, creating a medicated mist. Depending on the application, a variety of nebulizer supplies may be used. These nebulizer supplies include medicine reservoir cups, nebulizer solution, vials of respiratory medication, nebulizer masks and inhaler mouth pieces.

Nebulizers deliver aerosol medications directly to a person's respiratory tract.
Nebulizers deliver aerosol medications directly to a person's respiratory tract.

There are several types of nebulizers in use by the medical community. Devices such as inhalers and vaporizers are technically nebulizers by definition, but the jet nebulizer kit or ultrasonic wave nebulizer is more commonly recognized as a nebulizer. In all types of nebulizers, a measured dosage of medicine is delivered to the patient by forcing the medication to be converted to an aerosol form and then routing this medication directly to the patients respiratory tract. By delivering the medication directly to the lungs in an aerosol form, the device increases the drug’s efficacy for rapid relief of asthma or symptoms of respiratory illness.

A nebulizer mask is essential to inhaling medications in aerosol form.
A nebulizer mask is essential to inhaling medications in aerosol form.

The basic jet or ultrasonic wave nebulizer kit consists of a compressor and nebulizer tubing. Additional nebulizer supplies, such as masks or mouthpieces, are attached to the nebulizer tubing to deliver the medicated air to the patient. For older children and adults, mouthpieces are commonly used nebulizer supplies. For younger children or elderly individuals, a face mask may be a more appropriate aerosol delivery method.

The jet nebulizer uses an air compressor or compressed oxygen to convert the liquid medicine in the reservoir to a fine inhalant mist. The liquid medicine is added to the reservoir immediately before the breathing treatment begins. These medications are commonly packaged in small, single dose vials to ensure that the same amount of medication is delivered during each treatment. In some cases, the medication must also be mixed with a nebulizer solution in the reservoir to facilitate easier vaporization of the medicine.

The ultrasonic wave nebulizer performs the same function, but instead of using compressed air or oxygen to create the aerosol, it subjects the liquid medicine to high frequency vibrations using an electronic oscillator and a piezo electric element. By eliminating the need for an air compressor unit, the ultrasonic wave nebulizer reduces the weight of the necessary nebulizer supplies that must be transported by respiratory patients. The ultrasonic wave nebulizer also offers the advantage of quieter operation than traditional jet nebulizers, making it a more suitable choice for younger children or patients who may be disturbed by the noise of the jet nebulizer's air compressor unit.

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