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Nebulizer Treatment for Bronchitis

By Contributing Writer ; Updated July 27, 2017

Bronchitis is a respiratory disease that is characterized by the inflammation of the airways. Generally, a virus is the cause of this disease, but there are other environmental possibilities. Bronchitis can become chronic, which means that it recurs often. When it does, common medications and treatment will not likely work. A nebulizer is an effective treatment to use when bronchitis is persistent. Its potential to relax the airways is a crucial part in treating this disease.


Bronchitis is a respiratory disease that often accompanies a cold or other respiratory infection. Chronic bronchitis can be caused by smoking, exposure to chemical fumes, as well as pollutants. In some cases, ongoing bronchitis may actually be asthma, so see your doctor to be properly diagnosed.


Because bronchitis is associated with a cold, some of the symptoms are also similar. A low-grade fever, along with fatigue, are often present with bronchitis. However, the most obvious sign is a persistent, productive cough that has thick, colored mucus. The cough is often accompanied by chest tightness, shortness of breath, and wheezing, which is a whistle-like sound that you hear when you breathe.

What is a Nebulizer?

A nebulizer is a portable machine that works with an air compressor. Tubing connects the compressor to a liquid medication cup, which is connected to either a mouthpiece or a mask. A nebulizer takes the liquid medication, Albuterol, and changes it into a mist form that is inhaled. Nebulizers are most commonly used to treat asthma, but are just as effective when treating bronchitis.

Who should use a Nebulizer?

Some people who have bronchitis will use a fast-acting or rescue inhaler for relief of inflamed airways. Unfortunately, an inhaler is not suitable for everyone, as it can be difficult to use, and when used incorrectly might not dispense the correct dose of medication. A nebulizer is ideal for the elderly, babies and young children due its ease of use. When the mask is in place, all that is needed is regular respiration.

Nebulizer Care

Proper care of your nebulizer is essential, so be sure to clean it after each use. An unclean nebulizer can get clogged, as well as carry the possibility for infection. Proper care involves washing the medicine cup in warm, soapy water after each use and letting it air dry. After your last use of the day, wash the cup and mouthpiece or mask in the same way, and let air dry. It is important to wash the nebulizer parts in a vinegar and water solution every three days. Soak the parts for 20 minutes in 1/2 a cup of vinegar and 1 1/2 cups of water, and let air dry.

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