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This information was reviewed and approved by Ann Mullen, RN, CNS, AE-C, CDE, TTS (11/1/2018).

A nebulizer, or "breathing machine," is another way to take inhaled medicines. A nebulizer treatment is given with an air compressor machine. Pressurized room air is used to create a mist of the medicine solution, which is inhaled for approximately 5-10 minutes.

When an inhaler is used with a good technique (including a spacer), it is as effective as a nebulizer treatment. However, some people prefer a nebulizer for an episode of extreme breathing difficulty. We recommend using a nebulizer for young children and anyone having difficulty using an inhaler with a good technique. A face mask is available to use with a nebulizer for very young children.

Instructions for Nebulizer Treatments