A metered dose inhaler is a small machine that you put up to your mouth. At the same time that you take a breath in through your mouth, you press on the top of the inhaler. This puffs some of the medicine down into your lungs. With a little bit of practice, even children in kindergarten can learn how to use metered dose inhalers. A spacer (a small plastic tube) can be attached to the inhaler to make it even easier to use so that even littler children can it.
A nebulizer is an electric machine that mixes medicine and water and turns them into a mist that you can breath in. Breathing in medicine from a nebulizer is a lot like breathing in the steam or mist that builds up in the bathroom when you take a bath or a shower. Using a nebulizer to take medicine works almost the same way as using an inhaler, but for most people it is easier to use a nebulizer than it is to use than an inhaler.
Nebulizers work well for:
- children who are under 5 years old
- for older people who have trouble using an inhaler
- for people who have lots of bad asthma attacks