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Nebulizers, which help deliver medication in the form of a mist that a person inhales, may be useful for those with asthma and other respiratory conditions. Portable nebulizer machines make traveling much easier — below is a guide to picking the best options.

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, approximately 25 million Americans have asthma. Many of these individuals need to use specialized devices, such as inhalers or nebulizers, to inhale medication in order to help manage their condition.

This article provides examples of available portable nebulizers, explains how they work, and answers some frequently asked questions.

The American Lung Association states that a nebulizer is a device that can change liquid medication into a mist. A person then inhales this mist through a mask or mouthpiece.

A portable nebulizer usually relies on battery power to operate and is smaller than normal nebulizer machines. A person can easily transport these devices, making them suitable for individuals who travel frequently.

A doctor will typically recommend the use of a nebulizer and provide information on operating them. These machines work differently from one another, so a person should check the instructions before using them.

In general, an individual will need to put their liquid prescription medication into the machine and attach any required tubing. Once they have the medicine in place and tubing set up, they can turn on the device.

They then bring the mask or mouthpiece up to their mouth and breathe slowly and deeply to inhale the medication. They should run the nebulizer until their dosage of medication is gone unless a doctor directs otherwise.

Read more about nebulizers.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Philips InnoSpire Go Portable Mesh Nebulizer

This model is suitable for adults and children and can deliver treatment in as quickly as 4 minutes. It uses vibrating mesh technology to create a fine aerosol mist.

It features two-part construction, which may make it easier to clean. It also has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery with a long battery life — one charge can reportedly provide thirty treatments.

A person can use the machine with the mouthpiece only or the provided LiteTouch mask.

It is available for sale on the Philips website, but individuals need a valid doctor’s prescription to order one.

DeVilbiss Traveler Portable Compressor Nebulizer System

The company claims this device is one of the smallest on the market. It delivers small, concentrated particles over 10 minutes.

This machine contains filters that can trap dust, helping prevent people from inhaling it during operation.

A person has a choice of purchasing this model with a rechargeable battery or without. This rechargeable battery lasts up to 45 minutes. Without it, the Traveler also features a car adapter, so a person could still use it away from home.

Prices vary depending on whether a person opts for the rechargeable battery. Additionally, it has a universal design, so any tubing and mouthpieces can fit into the device.

This device also comes with kink-resistant, latex-free flexible tubing. It also comes with varying sizes of masks, making it suitable for adults and children.

Pari Trek S Portable Aerosol System

When purchasing the Pari Trek S Portable Aerosol System, the company sends both the main nebulizer and a backup. Individuals can also choose to use the device with the lithium-ion battery or the mains adapter. The optional battery lasts for 40 minutes.

The device comes with a 6-month warranty, while there is a 3-year warranty on the compressor.

A person will need to change the reusable cup every 6 months. Both adults and children can use the nebulizer.

The average treatment time is 5–6 minutes and features the use of small particles.

Sunset Healthcare NEB400 Mini Mesh Nebulizer

The Sunset Healthcare Mini Mesh Nebulizer does not feature a rechargeable battery. Instead, it takes power from two AA batteries or through the supplied USB cable. The machine features a quiet operation.

The Mini Mesh also comes with masks for adults and children, while there is a standard mouthpiece for oral and nasal inhalation.

It generates small particles, meaning it may be suitable for lower respiratory tract issues. And while the company claims it features quick treatments, it does not specify exact times.

The device is compact, lightweight, and comes with a travel bag for convenience.

A person should consider the following factors when choosing a nebulizer:

  • Particle size: Some respiratory issues develop in the lower respiratory tract, while others occur in the upper portion. Larger particles are best for the upper area, and smaller particles are best for the lower respiratory tract.
  • Nebulization levels: Children may benefit from a smoother mist with a lower nebulization rate, while adults with severe respiratory conditions may need a higher level of nebulization to receive more medication.
  • Frequency of use: A person who frequently uses the machine should consider looking for a durable, sturdy nebulizer with a longer warranty.
  • Size: Those who need to carry the device around with them will benefit from a portable nebulizer, many of which this article features.
  • Insurance coverage: Most insurances, including Medicare, should cover at least some of the cost of a nebulizer. A person can check their policy to see how much coverage they can get and if the vendor will work directly with insurance before purchase.
  • Noise: Some models offer a quieter operation than others. People with concerns about noise levels should ask the company about a device’s noise output before purchase.
  • Battery options: Travel nebulizers may feature optional rechargeable batteries. A person interested in a battery-operated machine should look for ones featuring batteries.

The following are common questions and answers about nebulizers.

Is a nebulizer better than an inhaler?

Both are effective methods of inhaling medication. However, an older study that looked at young children with wheezing issues found that they tolerated inhalers featuring a spacer more than nebulizers.

How do you use a nebulizer machine?

A person should put their medication into the nebulizer and attach the tubing. The device then turns the medicine into a mist. An individual places the mask or mouthpiece over their mouth and takes slow, deep breaths to inhale the medication.

Does a person need a prescription to buy a nebulizer?

Generally, a person needs a prescription to order a nebulizer machine. A doctor will also need to prescribe any medications that individuals use with the device.

Nebulizer machines may be useful for adults or children with respiratory issues. Standard nebulizers can be bulky pieces of equipment, so a portable device may be more practical for a person who travels frequently.

When choosing a travel nebulizer, individuals should consider particle size, machine durability, ease of use, noise level, battery options, weight, and insurance coverage before purchasing.