What is a nebuliser?

A nebuliser is a device that helps you take your medication. It changes liquid medicine into a fine mist. You then breathe in the mist through a mouthpiece or a mask.

In an emergency, if you are struggling to breathe and need a high dose of your reliever medicine, your health care professional may give it to you through a nebuliser.

For most people with lung conditions, especially for people living with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), using a hand-held inhaler is easier and just as effective. 

In some circumstances, such as if you are living with cystic fibrosis or bronchiectasis, your health care professional may arrange for you to use a nebuliser at home.

There are a many different types of nebulisers available, such as jet nebulisers and ultrasonic nebulisers. Ultrasonic nebulisers can be expensive and not often used outside hospitals.

Next: When are nebulisers used? >

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Last medically reviewed: August 2015. Due for review: August 2018

This information uses the best available medical evidence and was produced with the support of people living with lung conditions. Find out how we produce our information. If you’d like to see our references get in touch.