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Nebuliser for bronchitis: What Conditions Can Nebulizers Treat?

What Conditions Can Nebulizers Treat?

January 27, 2020
by AireHealth

If you have a chronic respiratory condition, it’s likely that you require medication to help ease your symptoms and keep you feeling well. Similar to inhalers, nebulizers are drug-delivery devices that distribute breathable medicines into your body. 

However, unlike an inhaler, which requires a specific technique for it to be effective, a nebulizer is very simple to use. Nebulizers convert your medication into a breathable mist—so all you have to do is breathe as normal to complete your treatment.




Nebulizers can be used to treat your asthma with daily maintenance medication or to deliver life-saving medications when you experience an asthma attack. Commonly used asthma medications often used with a nebulizer are inhaled corticosteroids. Inhaled corticosteroids help to reduce inflammation in the airways and reduce symptoms of breathlessness and chest tightness. Using a nebulizer to take your maintenance medication daily can help to prevent asthma symptoms from flaring up and asthma attacks from occurring. 


Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD, is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that causes symptoms such as breathing difficulty, coughing, and wheezing. COPD treatments often require daily nebulizer treatments with corticosteroids, anticholinergics, and beta-agonists. Nebulizers enable you to distribute a combination of these medicines all at once, making it a convenient and easy way to complete your treatment. Daily nebulizer treatments can help to significantly improve symptoms of COPD and drastically improve your quality of life. 


Managing cystic fibrosis (CF) often requires several inhaled medications to be used in combination with each other in order to increase the function of the lungs. A nebulizer is an invaluable medical device for patients who require several medicines in treatment. Patients with CF typically require bronchodilators, hypertonic saline, steroids, and antibiotics. It’s also important to note that using a nebulizer that can be easily cleaned and disinfected is crucial for patients suffering from CF, as they are much more susceptible to germs. Vibrating mesh nebulizers are perfect for this, as they do not include tubes and challenging to clean components. 




No one is immune to respiratory infections, especially during flu season. Young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and anyone who is immunosuppressed could find themselves with a respiratory infection that requires treatment with a nebulizer. Nebulizers are useful because they can deliver antibiotics straight to the lungs, helping your body to fight infection quickly. They’re also simple to use, making the treatment of young children and the elderly comfortable and straightforward.


Bronchitis is an inflammation of the the bronchial tubes, which are the airways that carry air to your lungs. It causes a cough that can produce mucus, as well as shortness of breath, chest tightness, and a fever. Fortunately, bronchitis symptoms can be treated with a nebulizer by inhaling albuterol to help dilate your bronchial tubes. As the inflammation in your airways is reduced, it becomes much easier to breathe and provides relief from the exacerbating symptoms.


If you’re suffering from breathing problems and have been diagnosed with a respiratory condition, discuss your treatment options with your healthcare provider. Portable nebulizers are a convenient and effective way to treat many respiratory illnesses and can help you keep your symptoms under control. At AireHealth, we offer an innovative nebulizer product that can meet your needs—whether you require a compact and portable nebulizer that you can use on-the-go, or an app-connected nebulizer that integrates with your smart phone and helps you track your treatment—we’ve got you covered.

Types of Inhalers and Nebulizers

Just when you think you’ve gotten over that respiratory infection, bronchitis hits. The coughing, chest soreness, and fatigue can really get you down.

While acute bronchitis will usually go away without prescription treatments, chronic or an especially nasty case of acute bronchitis may require some extra help.

We explain inhaled treatments for bronchitis, including nebulizer and inhaler treatments, and how they may help.

Inhalers are medications that are delivered through the mouth and to the lungs.

Usually this is a device with a short mouthpiece that connects to a small canister you press down on. When you press down and inhale, the medication enters your mouth and goes down into your lungs.

A doctor may prescribe a few different types of inhaler medications for bronchitis. These include the following:

Beta-2 agonists

Some of the most common inhaler medications are short-acting beta-2 agonists. These include medications like albuterol and salbutamol.

Doctors prescribe beta-2 agonists to treat:

  • asthma
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • severe coughing that can come with acute bronchitis

These medications work by relaxing airway passages in the lungs, which can make it easier to breathe.

The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews analyzed the results of five different studies of beta-2 agonists as a treatment for acute bronchitis in adults.

They concluded that there’s little evidence to support the use of beta-2 agonists in adults with acute bronchitis.

However, they did find that inhalers helped people who tended to wheeze frequently, even when they weren’t sick.

Inhaled corticosteroids

Inhaled corticosteroids help to reduce airway inflammation. This can be helpful when you have bronchitis, because it’s usually after an upper respiratory infection and your lungs are already very irritated.

These medications won’t relieve a wheezing attack immediately, but they can help to reduce:

  • airway swelling
  • excess mucus
  • tight airways

Examples of inhaled corticosteroids doctors prescribe include:

  • beclomethasone
  • budesonide
  • fluticasone

Long-acting beta-2 agonists (LABAs)

These medications are similar to short-acting beta-2 agonists like albuterol. They aren’t meant for acute attacks of wheezing, but rather reduce the risk of wheezing all day.

Examples of LABAs include arformoterol tartrate (Brovana) and formoterol fumarate (Oxeze, Foradil).

Doctors usually prescribe these with inhaled corticosteroids.

Nebulizer treatments are another form of inhaled medications. Instead of a short mouthpiece, nebulizer treatments usually have a longer mouthpiece and an air compressor that helps convert the medication to a fine mist.

Doctors often prescribe nebulizers to children who may have a harder time using an inhaler properly.

Instead of having to time the pumps to breathe medication in, a person just takes deep breaths in and out to take in the medication.

Nebulizers are also useful for people who may require larger amounts of inhaled medications, such as those for:

  • acute asthma attacks
  • pneumonia
  • COPD

A doctor would usually prescribe nebulized medications to treat acute bronchitis in children or for chronic bronchitis in adults.

Examples of nebulized medications include:

  • Long-acting beta-2 agonists (LABAs). These medications are usually the same as those available for inhalers.
  • Long-acting muscarinic agents (LAMAs). These medications work on different receptors in the lungs than beta-agonists to help open up the airways so you can breathe better. Examples of these medicines include umeclinium (Ellipta) and tiotropium (HandiHaler, Respimat).
  • Short-acting beta-agonists (SABAs). Like with traditional inhalers, a person can use albuterol in a nebulizer. These are mostly for acute attacks in bronchitis, such as wheezing.
  • Short-acting muscarinic antagonists (SAMAs). These are medications like ipratropium bromide (Atrovent). Doctors prescribe them to treat chronic bronchitis and COPD.

Many of these medications are available in combination, such as SABA-SAMA or LABA-LAMA.

Nebulized medications may not be as good a fit for adults without COPD, because nebulizers require special equipment and teaching to use.

Ideally, a person with acute bronchitis wouldn’t need this type of equipment.

In addition to nebulizers and inhalers, some people may inhale warm, humidified air (steam) at home to improve their breathing.

Sometimes cold air can irritate the lungs and worsen coughing when you have bronchitis. Warm, moist air may help you feel better and reduce coughing.

Here are some ways you can incorporate steam or mist therapy into your bronchitis treatments:

  • inhale steam from a bowl of boiling water, while hovering at least 8 to 12 inches away with a towel over your head to hold the steam in
  • take a hot shower
  • use a humidifier in your room, but be sure to carefully clean it after use

Many drugstores also sell plugin steam inhalers.

The side effects from inhalers and nebulizer treatments depend upon the type used. Examples of side effects include the following:

  • Beta-2 agonists may cause tremors, nervousness, and shakiness.
  • Corticosteroids can causesore mouth, cough, hoarse voice, or nosebleeds. Oral thrush can develop if a person doesn’t rinse their mouth out after use.
  • LABAs can cause heart palpitations and tremors.
  • LAMAs may cause constipation, dry mouth, and urinary retention.

If you experience any of these when you use an inhaler or nebulizer, talk to your doctor about ways to minimize these side effects. You can also find out if other medications are available.

They may suggest using a spacer device, which maximizes the delivery of the medication to the lungs. This minimizes the settling of medication to the back of the throat, which can lead to side effects.

With treatment and rest, you’ll ideally recover within about 1 to 2 weeks. It may take a bit longer for some people.

If your symptoms, especially your cough, persist beyond 3 weeks, consider scheduling another appointment with your doctor.

A doctor can evaluate you for other potential coughing causes, such as:

  • asthma
  • sinusitis
  • COPD
  • gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • heart failure
  • pulmonary embolism

According to StatPearls, doctors may misdiagnose as many as one-third of patients with bronchitis when the patients actually have asthma.

You should talk with a doctor if you have a cough that persists after an upper respiratory infection, and it keeps you from completing everyday activities or starts to make your chest hurt.

If you have a fever that accompanies your symptoms, your infection may be bacterial. A doctor can prescribe antibiotics that can help bronchitis go away.

If your cough persists after 3 weeks, you may need to make another appointment with your doctor. Bronchitis will usually subside by this time, so you could have another medical condition.

Sometimes, bronchitis can lead to pneumonia. This is a severe lung infection.

Seek emergency medical treatment if you have worsening symptoms like:

  • shortness of breath
  • blue-tinted lips or fingernails
  • confusion

Doctors usually treat bronchitis by treating its symptoms.

If your symptoms include wheezing and coughing, your doctor may prescribe an inhaler or nebulizer. These may help you manage your symptoms until you start feeling better.

Treatment of bronchitis: symptoms, drugs, inhalations

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Bronchitis is an infectious inflammation of the bronchial mucosa, most often associated with a viral infection.

Treatment of bronchitis

Inflammation of the bronchi is manifested primarily by a hacking dry or wet cough, combined with shortness of breath, chest discomfort, and sometimes wheezing. This condition greatly reduces the quality of life. In addition, bronchitis can be complicated by a bacterial infection, which leads to the development of a dangerous complication – pneumonia. To prevent this, you need to start treatment on time [1] . What means are used for this purpose? And how to choose an inhaler for inhalation therapy?

Bronchitis: non-pharmacological methods of treatment

Bronchus is an airway through which the air flow is carried to the respiratory departments. In healthy people, the bronchial mucosa produces bronchial secretions. With inflammation of the respiratory mucosa, the volume of bronchial mucus increases much, it becomes thicker, which disrupts its excretion. One of the main goals of treatment is to facilitate the removal of excess sputum from the respiratory tract. “Home”, non-drug methods of treatment help to achieve this [1] .

Drinking plenty of fluids

Helps relieve coughs, sore throats that can accompany bronchial inflammation, and helps to eliminate toxins and restore fluid loss. With bronchitis, you need a sufficient amount of drinks – from 2 liters. An adult can drink up to 4 liters of fluid per day [1,2] .

To compensate for fluid loss, it is recommended to drink water, juices, herbal tea. In the cool season, a warm drink is good: tea with raspberries, honey, lime blossom, warmed alkaline mineral water [1,2] .


Since bronchitis often causes inflammation of the throat, it is important to follow a sparing diet. Food should not irritate the throat, so it is recommended to give preference to non-spicy, non-salted, non-hot dishes [1] .


Dry air can irritate the cough receptors in the airways and provoke coughing fits. In addition, with insufficient moisture, the mucous membrane of the respiratory tract can dry out, and the viscosity of the bronchial secretion can increase, while the tasks of treating bronchitis are moisturizing the mucous membrane and thinning the sputum [1] .

To achieve them and relieve coughing, it is important to provide optimal conditions by controlling the humidity of the air. To do this, you can use room humidifiers or even just hang wet towels in the room. It is especially important to humidify the air during the cold season, when houses and apartments are heated [1] .

Bronchitis and lifestyle

Bronchitis may require lifestyle changes. An adult should stop smoking or reduce the number of cigarettes. To speed up recovery, when health permits, it is recommended to walk in the fresh air – such walks help to improve coughing, normalize sleep and alleviate the general condition. Both an adult and a child should dress according to the weather – so that it is neither cold nor hot [1] .

It is important to understand that non-pharmacological, folk remedies for bronchitis, despite their certain effectiveness, are usually not enough to speed up recovery and prevent complications. Therefore, with inflammation of the bronchi, the doctor prescribes drugs, more often in combination.

Comprehensive treatment helps to influence different stages of the disease process and achieve a good result, including with severe cough [1] . Consider what drugs can be prescribed for the treatment of acute bronchitis.

Antibacterial agents

The most common causative agents of acute inflammation of the bronchi are viruses, against which antibiotics are powerless. The so-called bacterial bronchitis is rather an exception to the rule. Bacterial infection causes disease only occasionally, usually in people with serious illnesses [1] .

A doctor may prescribe antibiotic treatment for bronchitis when there are convincing symptoms that suggest a bacterial infection, such as [1] :

  • prolonged fever – more than 5 days;
  • severe cough with profuse purulent sputum;
  • increased heart rate – more than 100 beats per minute;
  • an alarming symptom – shortness of breath and some others.

Antibiotics are more commonly prescribed for bronchitis in older adults because their immune defenses are usually weakened, which increases the risk of bacterial complications.

Bronchitis: cough treatment

To help clear excess mucus and relieve coughing, your doctor may prescribe a number of drugs with different mechanisms of action.

Treatment with expectorants improves the excretion of very viscous, thick sputum. Expectorants increase the activity of the mucous glands located in the bronchi, thereby increasing the production of bronchial mucus and reducing its viscosity [3] . In addition, expectorants can increase the cough reflex itself.

Medications called mucolytics (or secretolitics) relieve cough, thin sputum without significantly changing its amount [3] .

Sometimes a doctor may prescribe cough medicine for an adult or child. The need for them may arise when the cough with bronchitis is dry, painful. Antitussives do not affect the production of sputum and its discharge. They block the cough center or receptors located in the airways, stopping the reflex itself [4] .

Antitussive drugs should not be taken with dry or wet cough in combination with expectorants: in such a situation, the volume of sputum increases, and its excretion completely stops. The accumulation of mucus in the airways can contribute to the development of a bacterial infection and pneumonia. To avoid complications, it is important not to take cough medicines without a doctor’s prescription [5] .

Bronchodilator for cough

Sometimes, to treat bronchitis, your doctor may prescribe drugs that relax the smooth muscles of the bronchi and widen their lumen, called bronchodilators. They help make breathing easier (for example, if shortness of breath or bronchospasm occurs), improve sputum production, reduce coughing, and speed up recovery. It has been proven that when taking bronchodilators, the duration of a strong cough decreases. But this does not mean that these funds are necessary for all patients with bronchitis [1] .

Bronchial smooth muscle relaxants are recommended primarily for severe, painful, wet coughs. Drugs in this group can only be prescribed by a doctor – they are all dispensed only by prescription [1] .

Inhalation with a nebulizer for bronchitis

One of the effective ways to treat inflammation of the airways and bronchi is inhalation treatment. For inhalation when coughing, drugs of different groups can be used: expectorants, mucolytics, bronchodilators, sodium chloride solutions.

In order to deliver drugs to the site of inflammation, that is, to the respiratory tract, you need an inhaler that helps convert the drug into fine dust. This task is handled by a nebulizer. It generates and atomizes the smallest aerosol particles by compressing air or oxygen. Since these particles have a small diameter (on average 5 µm), they easily penetrate into all sections of the bronchial tree, reaching the foci of inflammation [3] .

The inhalation route is considered to be one of the best ways to administer drugs to the respiratory tract. The nebulizer ensures the rapid flow of the drug to the destination area, where the pathogenic process has arisen – into the bronchial tree. This helps to increase the rate of onset of the therapeutic effect and the activity of the drug. At the same time, the drug does not penetrate the digestive tract, thereby reducing the risk of side effects [3] .

One of the advantages of inhaled cough treatment with modern nebulizers is the ease of use. Inhalation can be conveniently done at home, including adults, children, and even infants [3] .

How is cough in chronic bronchitis treated?

Sometimes the inflammatory process of the bronchi takes a long time, chronically. Usually inflammation is accompanied by a wet cough. Several times a year, with chronic bronchitis, exacerbations (acute bronchitis) can develop, in which the condition worsens sharply. Sometimes chronic bronchitis begins in childhood and lasts until adulthood [5] .

Treatment of chronic bronchitis is a complex task that only a doctor can solve. Therapy regimen can be complex, combined and include antibiotics, bronchodilators, nebulizers, cough medicines and other drugs [5] . Therefore, when coughing and other symptoms of bronchitis appear, it is necessary to consult a specialist.

List of sources:

1. Sinopalnikov A. I. Acute bronchitis in adults // Practical pulmonology, 2005. No. 3.

2. Federal clinical guidelines for the provision of medical care to children with acute respiratory viral infection (acute nasopharyngitis), 2013

3. Blokhin B.M. 2015. V. 23. No. 3. S. 169-173.

4. Volkov AV Antitussive, mucolytic and expectorant drugs. What to choose? //RMJ, 2008. T. 16. No. 4. S. 239-241.

5. Smirnova M. O., Sorokina E. V. Bronchitis in children: principles of modern therapy // Difficult patient, 2009. T. 7. No. 8-9.

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Bronchitis. Treatment of bronchitis in a child. Inhalations for bronchitis

February 21, 2021

What is bronchitis and what causes it

With bronchitis, the mucous membranes of the bronchi are inflamed, sputum secretion increases, breathing becomes difficult. The disease is common in children, as well as in immunocompromised adults. Among the causes of the disease, the following can be noted:

  • Viruses (influenza, adenoviruses, etc. ).
  • Bacteria (streptococcus, Haemophilus influenzae, staphylococcus, etc.).
  • Allergens (dust, plant pollen, pet hair, etc.).
  • Toxic substances (aldehydes, nitric oxide, hydrochloric acid, etc.).

A high risk of developing bronchitis applies to active and passive smokers, people with reduced immune defenses or a genetic predisposition, and those who are exposed to adverse environmental factors at home or at work.

What types of bronchitis are there

The disease comes in two main forms:

  • Sharp . Acute bronchitis is accompanied by a wet cough and sputum. The disease lasts 1.5-2 weeks in the absence of complications.
  • Chronic . A progressive disease in which there is a change in the bronchial structure, a weakening of the main functions of the bronchi. Chronic bronchitis is diagnosed if the disease is regular and lasts at least 3 months a year for 2 years in a row. For this form of bronchitis, treatment includes, in addition to the standard treatment regimen, a general improvement of the body.

Acute bronchitis occurs in children in the following forms:

  • Plain. Bronchial mucosa affected. There are symptoms of acute bronchitis.
  • Obstructive. Wheezing, whistles are heard. Breathing is rapid, labored.
  • Bronchiolitis. Inflammation of the bronchioles, which is accompanied by rapid breathing (40-50 breaths per minute). Heart palpitations may occur.

How to treat bronchitis – depends on the type of disease, the characteristics of the course of the disease and the patient’s condition.

Symptoms of bronchitis in children and adults

Bronchitis in children and adults is accompanied by a dry cough, which turns into a wet one on the 2-3rd day of the disease. If bronchitis is of infectious origin, the following symptomatic picture is observed:

  • Increased body temperature.
  • Breathing is hard, wheezing is heard, in some cases – difficulty breathing and shortness of breath.
  • Weakness, general malaise.
  • Discomfort in the chest.

Wet cough in bronchitis accompanied by sputum. The color of sputum determines the nature of the disease and the presence of complications.

  • White and translucent white sputum indicates the normal course of the disease.
  • A yellow discharge often indicates the presence of a bacterial infection.
  • Green secret appears with the development of pneumonia, fungal infection, lung abscess.
  • Brown discharge is a sign of chronic bronchitis or severe lung disease. Before treating bronchitis, you need to see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis.

If diagnosed with bronchitis

The treatment of bronchitis with a nebulizer is highly effective, since the medicinal preparation enters the bronchi directly and begins to act.