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Children's Health

Helping Your Child Use a Nebulizer

Help your child get the most out of their asthma treating nebulizer. These simple guidelines show you how.
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By Hilary Parker
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Sometimes children’s allergy symptoms don’t stop with a stuffy nose and watery eyes. If your child has allergic asthma, the most common form of asthma, exposure to allergens like pollen and mold can cause breathing passages to become swollen and inflamed. Childhood allergies that trigger asthma can lead to wheezing, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing. 

When that happens, your child’s doctor may prescribe the use of a breathing machine called a nebulizer. The following Q & A will help you teach your child how to get the most benefit from using a nebulizer.

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What Is a Nebulizer?

A nebulizer is a machine that’s used to deliver asthma medication to the lungs. It does this by converting liquid medication into a mist. The mist can then be inhaled.

What Medications are Delivered With a Nebulizer?

There are several types of allergic asthma medicines that can be delivered by a nebulizer. They include:

  • Inhaled corticosteroids. These drugs have been used for more than half a century. They reduce breathing passage inflammation, bronchial tube swelling, and the overproduction of mucus.
  • Bronchodilators. These drugs are often used on an as-needed basis. They’re used to address asthma symptoms.
  • Non-steroid anti-inflammatory medications. These drugs lessen inflammation in the airways. Although they have few side effects, they do not control the symptoms of allergic asthma as well as inhaled corticosteroids.
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