Difference Between Inhaler and Nebulizer


Asthma medicine has to get down into your lungs before it can work. The best two ways of achieving that are Inhalers and Nebulizers. However, they are both different devices that can accomplish the quick-delivery relief medicine. Because they are two different devices, only a doctor can tell you which one is best for your specific situation.

The Difference Between a Nebulizer and an Inhaler

Nebulizer – These are powered by either batteries or electric. They create a fine mist from liquid asthma medicine. That mist is then sent through a tube which is attached to either a facemask or mouthpiece.

With babies and young children, the choice is usually a nebulizer. This is because there is nothing for them to do. They simply sit down somewhere and take their medicine. It can take a nebulizer from 5 to 10 minutes to get the necessary medicine into their lungs, and sometimes a little bit longer. Some of the nebulizers are big and noisy and difficult to carry around.

Inhaler – An inhaler is a small device that fits in your hand. They are small enough to carry down in your pocket, a backpack a purse. These come in 2 different types –

(1). MDI (Metered Dose Inhalers) – These are the ones used most often. They are similar to small aerosol cans. They push a spray of medicine outward much like a can of spray paint.

(2). Dry Powder Inhaler – These inhalers deliver the medicine in a powder form. It doesn’t spray out like it does with the MDIs. These type require more work from the users as they have to inhale the powdered medicine fast and deep.

A dry powder inhaler, when used properly, can be a bit easier to operate than the MDIs. However, the powder must be pulled in by the user quickly and with some force.

MDIs are sometimes trickier to use. It takes some practice but most catch on quite quickly. Using a spacer is a good idea for anyone using an MDI. Spacers attach to your inhaler and help to make it easier because it holds the medicine in a sort of holding chamber.

While the powder is in the holding chamber the user can inhale the medicine more slowly whenever they’re ready. If you have a spacer then you can finish in just a couple of minutes or less.

When a user does not have a spacer, the medicine can be drawn into the back of the user’s throat rather than down into the lungs. Spacers help to get the medicine down into the lungs and begin relieving the breathing problems.

Again, it takes a doctor’s to determine if a nebulizer or inhaler would be your best choice.