The use of a nebulizer in infants and children may be indicated for the treatment of airway congestion. Do you know how to use it? Here we will tell you everything you need to know.

Nebulizers for babies and children: everything you need to know

Last update: September 03, 2023

Lung lesions are common in childhood. In many of these situations, it may be necessary to resort to the use of an infant and child nebulizer. This device Its function is to deliver medicine to the child’s airways while he is breathing.

The nebulizer is easy to handle and use, making it suitable for both hospital and home use. Below, we will explain in detail what an infant and child nebulizer is, the types available, how to choose the right one, and how to use it effectively. Read on to find out more.

What is a nebulizer?

spray is a device that converts liquids into a fine mist for easier inhalation. and thus deliver the drug directly to the respiratory tract. Some of the more common medications given by inhalation include:

  • Antibiotics to fight infections.
  • Beta agonists to relax the airways.
  • Corticosteroids to reduce inflammation in lung tissue.
  • Other specific drugs used for chronic diseases such as cystic fibrosis.
  • Physiological solution for moisturizing and thinning secretions in the respiratory tract.

The main purpose of nebulizers. relieve airway congestionwhich allows the patient to breathe easier. Nebulizers are often used in children as they are a useful, quick and safe tool for treating recurrent illnesses at this stage such as asthma, bronchitis or the common cold.

Types of nebulizers in infants and children

Nebulizer equipment consists of several main parts. Compressor that converts liquid into steam; a nebulizer container or kit that holds the medicine, and a nebulizer mask or mouthpiece that fits around the child’s face so the medicine can be inhaled.

Currently, there are different types of nebulizers that use different mechanisms to convert liquids into aerosols. The main difference is the size of the vapor particles and the speed at which they enter the body.. Among the most used are the following.

ultrasonic nebulizers

They use high frequency vibrations to convert liquid into particles. They are fast and silent. although high temperatures are used to work, which can affect the quality of the drug.

They are usually used for diseases of the upper respiratory tract, such as pharyngitis and sinusitis.

Piston or jet sprayers

Also known as nebulizers reactive plane or regular, are the most common. Their main disadvantage is that they create noise and take longer to nebulize the medicine.

They are suitable for diseases of the middle and lower respiratory tract, such as pneumonia and bronchiolitis.

mesh nebulizers

Similar to ultrasonic, but with the peculiarity that they emit an aerosol through a mesh with holes. They are fast and efficient and minimize drug wastage. However, they are more expensive and harder to clean.

In any case, in order to choose the right nebulizer, it is convenient to use the help of a specialist. In addition, choosing patterns with bright colors, patterns, and figurines can promote better acceptance by the child.

When is a nebulizer used for infants and children?

The nebulizer is used for administer drugs or hypertonic solutions intended for the treatment of diseases affecting the respiratory tract, both in the upper, middle, and lower parts of it. Some examples of such conditions are:

  • Allergic reactions.
  • Croup characterized by inflammation of the airways.
  • Chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
  • Conditions causing bronchial hypersecretion such as bronchitis, pneumonia and bronchiolitis.
  • Other conditions affecting the upper respiratory tract such as laryngitis, sinusitis and rhinitis.

How to use a nebulizer for children?

A nebulizer is a valuable device for administering drugs in the treatment of respiratory diseases. To ensure the effectiveness of the treatment, it is important to use it correctly.

Below, we will provide you with a step by step guide on how to properly use the nebulizer and provide the best possible care for your little one. To use the nebulizer effectively, follow these important steps:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the equipment and follow the instructions.
  2. Take with you: nebulizer, medicine and saline solution.
  3. Wash your hands before work.
  4. Fill the glass with medicine and saline.
  5. Connect tubing to container.
  6. Put on a mask or mouthpiece.
  7. Turn on the nebulizer (10-20 minutes).
  8. If you still interrupt, turn it off so as not to waste the medicine.
  9. Turn off when the container is empty.
  10. Disassemble and clean the nebulizer.

How to clean the nebulizer?

Proper cleaning of the nebulizer is critical to preventing the growth of bacteria and fungi. Study published in the journal BMK Pool Medicine studied the contamination of household nebulizers of children with cystic fibrosis.

The study showed that 70.5% of nebulizers contained harmful microorganisms, How P. aeruginosa (bacteria that can cause various infections). This highlights how nebulizers can contain pathogens and affect children’s lung health. To prevent infection, you can take the following steps:

  1. Separate parts, wash and dry them after each use.
  2. Disinfect weekly, following the manufacturer’s instructions, with vinegar or a dilute bleach solution.
  3. Change the filter every 6 months and the mask regularly.
  4. Make sure the mask is for individual use and not shared use.

Tips for using a nebulizer in infants and children

It is only natural that the use of nebulizers causes fear and discomfort in infants and children, especially if frequent and prolonged treatment is needed. To make this experience more bearable, consider the following guidelines:

  1. Establish a regular daily routine that includes spraying as part of your daily routine.
  2. If your child is afraid to wear a mask, help them familiarize themselves with it by putting it on first, decorating the nebulizer with stickers, or coming up with a fun name for the mask.
  3. If you are concerned about the noise of the device, place the nebulizer on a towel to reduce vibration and noise.
  4. Choose an appropriate time to spray, such as after a meal, before going to bed, or at bedtime.
  5. Treat when the child is calm and awake, not when the child is asleep.
  6. Make sure your child is comfortable and upright, whether in a chair, high chair, or on your lap.
  7. Distract their attention while spraying. Use stories or TV programs to keep him entertained while connected to a computer.
  8. After the treatment, offer him water or milk to remove any residual medicine from his mouth.

note that the nebulizer may be less effective if the child cries while using it, this is reported in detail by the Spanish Association of Pediatricians. This is because crying is a long exhalation followed by a rapid inhalation, which prevents a small amount of air from getting into the lungs and therefore treatment is ineffective.

In the event of a crying crisis, it is convenient to stop spraying and continue it when the child is calm.

A vital tool for children’s lung health

Nebulizers offer significant benefits in the treatment of lung disease in children. Compared with oral treatment, cause fewer side effectswhich is very valuable in young patients.

In addition, these devices have flexibility in prescribing one or more medications, adjusting the dose according to needs. Their simple design makes them convenient for parents and caregivers, helping to improve the quality of life of babies, guaranteeing effective and comfortable therapy.

Nevertheless, Its use should be limited according to indications and under the supervision of a physician, ensuring an adequate dose. Getting instructions from a specialist and reading the manufacturer’s instructions is critical before using it at home.

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