The good news for anyone who suffers from asthma – or has a loved one with the condition – is that it can be managed quite well with modern medicine, delivered through an asthma nebulizer or inhaler. But it helps to understand how that medicine works.
There are two types of medication for asthma: relievers and preventers. Relievers are medication taken when symptoms show to open up the airways and make breathing easier. Common relievers are Salbutamol or Albuterol (Ventolin) and Terbutaline (Bricanyl).
Preventers help prevent severe attacks in the first place by controlling the swelling and inflammation of the airways. They normally contain a corticosteroid medication, and need to be taken all the time as directed, not just when you or your loved one is feeling unwell.
Inhalers and nebulizers
Asthma medication is typically delivered directly to the lungs by breathing it in, so it should come as no surprise that the delivery device matters.
There are two main types of device: metered-dose inhalers and nebulizers.
Metered-dose inhalers are popular among adults because they are small and easy to carry around. The problem though is that they can be difficult to use correctly as you need to carefully time pressing the button with breathing in. That’s especially difficult with children and the elderly, and it reduces the effectiveness of the medication.
Nebulizers are larger and work on AC or battery power. They convert the medication into a fine mist which is inhaled through a mask or mouthpiece. They tend to be more effective than inhalers at delivering the medication because there is no special technique required – just put on the mask and breathe normally.
Which asthma nebulizer is right for you?
There are five main kinds of asthma nebulizer so it’s important to choose the right one for you.
- Silicon valve
As the name suggests, a silicon valve helps prevent wastage of medication. But the valve can be difficult to clean and is prone to breakage, meaning efficiency may vary.
T-piece nebulizers don’t have a valve at all. While this makes them easier to clean, it means the medication keeps flowing constantly, resulting in wastage whenever you exhale. That means you may not get the full dose.
- Large hole
Like the T-piece, this type of nebulizer has no valve, which can result in wastage whenever you exhale.
- Narrow interspace
This type of nebulizer reduces wastage but because it’s so narrow it can be difficult to breathe normally.
- Virtual Valve
These nebulizers allow you to breathe normally and minimize wastage, resulting in an efficient flow of medication and an accurate dose. It’s the technology preferred by OMRON.
Even among virtual valve nebulizers there are still many different types to choose from, so it’s important to choose the right kind of nebulizer for your needs.
Those with severe asthma might like a heavy duty nebulizer, such as the NE-C28, which provides powerful delivery of medication.
That’s likely to be too noisy for small children though, who may enjoy the colorful NE-C801-KD or NE-C803 which are designed to appeal directly to kids.
To view the full range of OMRON nebulizers, click here.