By Austin Sheeley

Occasionally, we’ll get asked what the difference is between a nebulizer and a vaporizer. Or between a nebulizer and a humidifier. Though they all have to do with respiratory care, they all work differently and serve different purposes.

NebulizersPari Trek S

Nebulizers are designed to deliver prescription respiratory medications. They do this by dissolving the medicine into a light mist which can be breathed in through a mouthpiece. Breathing in mist helps open up one’s airways and can be useful in treating asthma, allergies and a variety of respiratory diseases.

Warm Steam VaporizersVaporizers

Vaporizers are also used to create a breathable mist. You can add medication to these as well. However, unlike nebulizers, vaporizers disperse the mist throughout a room and thus are not a reliable form of medication delivery, though the mist itself can still have health benefits. Also, unlike both nebulizers and humidifiers, vaporizers usually boil their water to create mist, which poses a danger to young children who might knock the vaporizer over.

HumidifiersSpongebob Cool Mist Humidifier

Like vaporizers, humidifiers create a breathable mist that disperses throughout a room. Unlike vaporizers, they do not boil water and are therefore kid safe. However, unlike nebulizers and (occasionally) vaporizers they do not disperse any sort of medication. Nonetheless, the mist itself can be helpful for those with asthma, allergies or respiratory diseases. Because the mist is spread out, it can also treat dry skin.