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Inhalation and nebulisation

What is the difference between inhalation and nebulisation?

Inhalation is the activity involving the aspiration of vapours from boiling solutions of drugs or aerosols. Contrary to inhalation, nebulisation is a medical procedure performed with a device called the nebuliser, which administers a fine mist of drugs into the patient’s respiratory system. Anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics and expectorants are administered by nebulisation. A nebuliser creates a fine mist of the desired drug using compressed air or compressed oxygen.

Application of those therapeutic methods

Inhalation or nebulisation are most commonly used in the treatment of the following conditions: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchial asthma and cystic fibrosis. Both the therapeutic methods mentioned above are also used in the prophylaxis of common colds and allergies.


Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the respiratory tract, which is accompanied by such symptoms as dyspnoea, a sensation of compression of the chest, a cough and wheezing. Signs and symptoms of the disease occur with variable frequency and intensity. They are associated with the more or less intensified difficulty of air flow during exhalation. Those complaints are thought to be caused by oedema of bronchial mucosa, mucous plugs, constriction of smooth muscles and progressive remodelling of the bronchial wall. The disease is classified as allergic or non-allergic. Symptoms of asthma may be triggered by allergens, infections of the respiratory system, strong emotions, physical exercise, air pollution, drugs and weather changes.
The importance of appropriate therapy for all kinds of allergy associated with the respiratory tract should be underlined. Negligence may lead to permanent changes and the development of asthma.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a permanent limitation of air flow through the respiratory tract. The disease is often progressive. It is associated with the intense inflammatory response of the respiratory tract to harmful gases and particles, and particularly to tobacco smoke. Smoking is the principal cause of the disease. The condition requires constant treatment. Any infections of the respiratory tract should be avoided as they may significantly deteriorate the patient’s condition.