Because asthma attacks can occur with a quick onset, the best way to deliver medication is often by inhaling it. Inhaled medications relax the muscles around the bronchial tubes so that air can flow freely. Inhaled medications can be delivered in three distinct ways. The first is via a small compressor called a nebulizer. Liquid medication is poured into a
chamber that is connected with tubing to both the nebulizer and a face mask or sucking tube. A tube or mask is placed in front of the face, and the nebulizer forces the liquid medication into a constant gaseous stream so that it can be inhaled. The nebulizer is the best way to deliver this type of medication. Unlike the older models, the newer models are light, quiet, and portable. You can even use it in a car by plugging it into the cigarette lighter.
The second method for inhaling medications is through the use of a metered dose inhaler (MDI) (0). An MDI can fit easily into a pocket, so that you can take your medication wherever you go. The efficiency of the treatment is enhanced by the use of a spacer (1). This is a tube with a mouth mask on one side and a connective port for an MDI on the other. The MDI releases a spray of medication into the spacer, which traps the medication from the MDI until the user draws it into his or her lungs by inhaling. The spacer also ensures that all of the medication is delivered without any loss in open space. It also reduces the side effects of some medications by limiting the amount of the medication that is deposited in the mouth and in the back of the throat. An MDI is smaller than a nebulizer and does not require a power source.