Albuterol Nebulizer Treatments for Pneumonia

By Quantia Watson Shelby

The American Lung Association defines pneumonia as "a common lung infection caused by bacteria, a virus or fungi." Pneumonia can also be described as an inflammation of the lungs, especially if fluid or another substance enters them. Doctors diagnose pneumonia by listening to the lungs and by performing a chest X-ray. Sometimes pneumonia can be treated at home, while other times it requires hospitalization.

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The American Lung Association defines pneumonia as "a common lung infection caused by bacteria, a virus or fungi." Pneumonia can also be described as an inflammation of the lungs, especially if fluid or another substance enters them. Doctors diagnose pneumonia by listening to the lungs and by performing a chest X-ray. Sometimes pneumonia can be treated at home, while other times it requires hospitalization.

Albuterol Nebulizer Treatments

Albuterol is a medicine classified as a bronchodilator. It is is a clear liquid medication that opens up the airways in the lungs. The nebulizer is the machine used to administer the treatment; it turns the liquid medicine into a mist to be inhaled into the lungs. This process is commonly referred to as receiving a breathing treatment.

Albuterol Sulfate Nebulizer Solution

The name albuterol is short for albuterol sulfate nebulizer solution. It usually comes in single-use doses and is kept in small plastic containers with a twist-off cap. After placing the albuterol in the appropriate part of the nebulizer, the plastic container and cap must be discarded. The machine is turned on and the mist comes out of a mask or other device that covers the patient’s mouth and nose. The patient should usually breathe normally. Sometimes, the therapist administering the treatment might ask the patient to breathe deeply every two or three minutes. This helps the small medicine particles get as deep into the lung tissue as possible. Each treatment lasts approximately 15 minutes.

Pneumonia Risks & Symptoms

The very young and the elderly are most susceptible to pneumonia, so children under the age of 2 and persons over 65 have to be the most careful. A pneumonia vaccine is available, since it is easier to prevent the disease than treat it. People are most likely to develop pneumonia following a cold or flu, when immune system resistance is low. Symptoms of pneumonia vary, but usually present as coughing, fever, shortness of breath or rapid breathing, chills, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

Effectiveness of Albuterol for Pneumonia

If the pneumonia is not caused by a virus, it can be treated with antibiotics. Doctors might also instruct you to take in as many fluids as possible, and to get extra rest. There is controversy about whether or not albuterol nebulizer treatments are effective in treating pneumonia. According to information from WebMD, albuterol treatments are not recommended for pneumonia. There is other information that suggests albuterol nebulizer treatments don’t specifically fight pneumonia, but can help with the symptoms, like difficulty breathing.

Side Effects of Albuterol

Once your medical history has been discussed with medical staff, albuterol is thought to be a safe medication. Still, there are side effects. Some users of albuterol experience an increase in heart rate or blood pressure, jitters, nervousness, headaches, sweating and diarrhea. Most of these symptoms are normal and can be treated at home, but questions about them should be directed to a medical professional.

References

About the Author

Quantia Watson Shelby began writing in 1998. She has written for "The Barberton Herald," and "The Sun." Shelby taught kindergarten through college, so education is a favorite topic. She is a registered medical assistant and a medical billing specialist and enjoys writing about medicine-related topics. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Kent State in 2001, then studied literature at Cleveland State.

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