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What is a Portable Nebulizer?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated Feb 21, 2024
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A portable nebulizer is a small device that is used to treat those with severe asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, and certain pulmonary diseases. The device is used to deliver medications directly into the lungs by converting liquids into fine mists that are more easily inhaled. This is usually done using a large nebulizer machine at home or in a hospital or doctor’s office setting. The portable nebulizer was created to allow patients with chronic conditions to move more freely.

Most portable nebulizer devices are compact and easy to carry inside of a small handbag or pack that can be worn around the waist. In many cases, portable nebulizers deliver medication more efficiently into the lungs, making them less wasteful than larger versions. This is true because they are able to break medications down into smaller mist particles than more conventional nebulizer machines.

In most cases, portable nebulizer machines are not medication-specific. This means that any medication made from any manufacturer or company can be used in the nebulizer. Patients should double check this before making a purchase to be sure the nebulizer they are buying is compatible with their medication.

One of the main benefits of using a portable nebulizer over a larger model is that they are much quieter. Many portable nebulizer options have reduced noise production, and some are totally quite except for the small hissing noise created by the mist. This allows young children and infants to undergo less stress during treatments, and allows any patient to take his or her medication at night without waking other family members. More convenient use means that more patients will continue to take their medications as often and in the amounts prescribed.

Although the benefits of using a portable nebulizer over a larger version are still being studied, portable options are generally much more efficient when used correctly. Patients should be taught to use their device by either a salesperson or doctor. They should also take the time to read all manufacturer's instructions to ensure that the nebulizer is being used properly. This not only maximizes efficiency, but safety as well.

Portable nebulizers are generally more expensive than tabletop versions, although insurance may help cover some or all of the cost. Patients are encouraged to seek advice when making a purchase to find out what their insurance providers will cover. Payment plans may be offered to those who are uninsured or for those whose providers will not cover the purchase.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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