Carlos Vaca, MD
Internal Medicine Physicians & Critical Care Medicine Specialists located in Miami, FL
When you have lung disease and struggle to breathe, you need medication that can easily get inside your lungs to open your airways. To do so, you need a medical device called a nebulizer. Carlos Vaca, MD, specializes in pulmonary nebulization, determining the right device for you, and then teaching you how to use the nebulizer. If you suffer with a chronic lung condition and need expert treatment, call the office in Miami or schedule an appointment online.
What is pulmonary nebulization?
Pulmonary nebulization is a lung treatment that uses a device called a nebulizer to turn liquid medication into a fine mist. In the form of a mist, the medication goes straight into your lungs where it’s needed to open your airways, reduce inflammation, and improve your breathing.
Nebulizers are similar to inhalers — they both administer medication directly into the lungs — but they have some important differences.
With a nebulizer, you inhale the mist through a mask or mouthpiece for about 10 minutes. With inhalers, you only need to inhale a few time, and your treatment is finished. However, inhalers are harder to use compared to nebulizers.
Nebulizers must also be attached to a compressor, so they’re not very portable. By comparison, inhalers are small enough to carry with you.
When might I need pulmonary nebulization?
Dr. Vaca prescribes a nebulizer to patients diagnosed with:
- Asthma: Airways become inflamed, swollen, and produce extra mucus in response to triggers
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): Progressive lung diseases including emphysema and chronic bronchitis
- Cystic fibrosis: Inherited lung disease that damages the lungs, digestive system, and other organs
- Bronchiectasis: Airway walls are thickened from inflammation and infection
These pulmonary conditions all cause shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing. COPD and cystic fibrosis also tend to cause frequent sinus or respiratory infections.
How do I use a pulmonary nebulizer?
When you receive a pulmonary nebulizer, Dr. Vaca teaches you how to use the device. While the steps are straightforward, it takes practice to get used to the machine. It may also take time to get used to breathing through your mask or mouthpiece. Here’s a brief overview to give you an idea about what’s involved with using a nebulizer:
The mouthpiece or mask connects to the nebulizer with a tube, and the nebulizer attaches to a machine called a compressor with a longer hose. You first connect the hose from the nebulizer to the compressor. Then you put medication in the nebulizer and connect it to your mask or mouthpiece, always keeping the nebulizer upright so the medication doesn’t spill.
If you have a mask, you place it over your face, while a mouthpiece goes inside your lips. When you’re ready, you turn on the compressor and breathe normally until the treatment is finished.
If you struggle with asthma or other chronic lung diseases, Dr. Vaca can help you find relief with pulmonary nebulization. To schedule an appointment, call the office or use the online booking feature.