What is a Breathing Aid?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A breathing aid is a device designed to help people breathe more easily. Breathing aids are available to address problems such as snoring, as well as to help people with chronic lung conditions who sometimes have difficulty breathing. Many types of breathing aids are available at drug stores, or can be ordered through supply catalogs. If a physician specifically recommends a breathing aid to a patient, the physician may also provide information about where to get it or provide samples directly from the office or clinic.

Breathing aids are available to help people with chronic lung conditions.
Breathing aids are available to help people with chronic lung conditions.

Nasal breathing aids are clips or straps designed to span the nose. They open up and support the nasal passages to allow air to flow more freely through the nose. These aids can be worn by people while they sleep to address snoring by preventing relaxation and partial closure of the nasal passages. They can also be worn during the day by people who have trouble breathing through their noses as a result of relaxed nasal passages or partial clogs caused by mucus.

Nasal breathing aids may help prevent snoring during sleep.
Nasal breathing aids may help prevent snoring during sleep.

Disposable nasal breathing aids are available along with designs made from plastic and other materials intended to be washed and reused. When selecting a nasal breathing aid, it is important to choose a model that will fit the nose properly. If the device is too large or too small, it will not work as effectively and people may not experience benefits. Many companies provide measuring guides on their packaging to help people select the right size.

Another type of breathing aid is a device designed to use resistance breathing to strengthen the lungs. People with conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) and asthma may have weakened lungs, as do people recovering from surgery. With a breathing aid, people breathe in and out through a device designed to provide resistance, forcing the lungs to work harder. This encourages better development of the lungs and will allow people to breathe more easily.

A device designed for resistance breathing is used several times a day in training sessions to promote lung and diaphragm health. These devices are small enough to be carried, for people who want to be able to use them on the go, and they can also be used before delivering lung medications. Using a breathing aid before taking inhaled medications can help people inhale more deeply to allow the medications to fully penetrate the lungs. Improved medication delivery can improve a patient's general condition.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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