What is a breathing treatment?

As with many medical devices, there are many lay terms associated with nebulizer treatments.  One common term for a nebulizer treatment is a breathing treatment.  Used especially with children, this term refers to a nebulizer treatment, describing medication which is “breathed in” as the way it is administered.  A breathing machine is the term often used for the piece of equipment which gives a breathing treatment.  You may also see the term breathing machine on practical information from government agencies, such as TSA, to refer to a nebulizer.

Similarly, a nebulizer can also be called a nebulizer machine or an asthma machine.  These terms often refer to the mechanics of the treatment rather than the treatment itself, but it is good to know some people do refer to a nebulizer as such.  The term asthma machine may also be used to refer to an inhaler, often when used in conjunction with a holding chamber.  Another common term is respiratory nebulizer, referencing the condition and machine for which the treatment is intended.

Generally, nebulisers come in 2 styles, ultrasonic and jet. A jet nebulizer can also be called a compressor nebulizer, table top nebulizer, or nebulizer compressor. All these terms refer to a nebulizer which pumps pressurized air into the medication to create an aerosol medication ready for inhalation.  Ultrasonic nebulizers use vibration to create the aerosol medication.  They can also be called vibrating mesh or vibrating nebulizers depending on the technology they use. All nebulizers can be referred to as fog nebulizers because of the appearance of the medication as it is being nebulized.