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Nebulization can be a scary topic for parents. Is using a nebulizer safe for babies? What can be the side effects of a nebulizer on babies? Parents have so many such questions to ask. Read on to know what a nebulizer is, how it functions and how and when to use it effectively. We'll make it easy for you to decide whether you want to use a nebulizer for your baby or not.

What is a nebulizer?

A nebulizer is an electronic or battery-operated machine that is used to transform the liquid asthma medicine into a breathable mist that can be inhaled by the child to reach the lungs and provide relief for respiratory problems. When a baby has breathing or respiratory problems, a nebulizer is suggested by doctors as the young babies cannot use inhalers on their own. Some parents refrain from using nebulizers and prefer oral medication. For a new parent, the mixed information can be baffling as there are several myths prevailing related to the use of nebulizers.

How does it work?

A nebulizer has three parts – the machine, a nebulizer cup, and a face mask. The medicine or the solution is put in the cup and is connected to the face mask and the machine through tubes. The mask is then put on the baby’s face and the machine is switched on. In 5 – 10 minutes, the medicine in the cup gets converted into a vaguely white mist. All that the child has to do is to inhale that mist. It is suitable for babies as it makes sure that the medicines reach the lungs easily and directly, having maximum benefit.

Is nebulization safe for babies?

Yes. It is perfectly safe to use a nebulizer to help babies deal with breathing problems. Babies suffering from diseases like asthma or acute illnesses like pneumonia can benefit from using a nebulizer. Chances are, doctors will prescribe the use of nebulizers if a baby’s cold or a cough leads to congestion and respiratory problems. Nebulizers are much more effective for babies as they cannot operate an inhaler on their own.

How often do you need to use a nebulizer for babies?

The nebulizers should be used with a frequency suggested by the doctor, which is in accordance with the severity of the illness the baby has. Babies suffering from asthma may need nebulization more often. You can stop using the nebulizer once the child develops immunity and breathing becomes manageable.

What are the side – effects of nebulization?

A nebulizer is safe to use on babies, although it is a general misconception that using a nebulizer can lead to some serious side effects. In fact, it is safer than a steam inhaler. The general side – effects are very rare and few. These are mostly from the medicine rather than a nebulizer. Some of the slight side – effects are: -

Nausea

Heartburn

Dry or irritated throat

Unpleasant taste in mouth

A few of the serious complications that are extremely unlikely but may happen are: -

Stomach pain

Bleeding nose

Dizziness

Is using a nebulizer a good practice?

A nebulizer is a good option for babies having severe breathing difficulty due to chest congestion arising from cold or a cough. But you should not go around using a nebulizer for babies for just about everything. Without the advice of the doctor, you should never use a medicine solution. Use only saline water for minor ailments like a cough and cold etc. Using a nebulizer at home rather than at a hospital makes the children more comfortable and they will be more cooperative towards using it. You may purchase a nebulizer for your baby. A good nebulizer may cost you around Rs. 1500 to Rs. 3000.

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