If you or your child use a nebulizer to manage asthma or another chronic respiratory condition at home, you may want to consider investing in a portable unit for travel or day trips.
Portable nebulizers come in three main types: compressor, vibrating mesh and ultrasonic. Compressor (also known as “jet”) nebulizers use compressed air to vaporize your medication. Ultrasonic nebulizers use high-frequency sound waves, while vibrating mesh units use vibration. All create an aerosol mist, although ultrasonic and vibrating mesh nebulizers may offer faster delivery and operate more quietly. These features can be very attractive for travelers who may need to nebulize in a public area such as an airport or restaurant.
When looking to invest in a portable nebulizer, talk with your physician about which is best for you. You can buy units from online and local medical supply stores, but you’ll likely need a prescription, and some medications should not be used with ultrasonic units that generate significant heat.
You’ll also want to consider which type of power source best suits your needs: plug-in, rechargeable, or replaceable batteries. Replaceable batteries may be convenient if you do not have frequent access to a power outlet. They’re also a great option for international travel since they avoid the problem of voltage adaptors.
Nebulizers with built-in rechargeable batteries eliminate the need for purchasing and carrying additional batteries, and some also come with a car charger for convenient charging on-the-go. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of power source, so decide which will serve your individual needs.
Whichever type of nebulizer you choose, always be sure that you either have extra replacement batteries with you or that the device is fully charged before you depart. Check that the nebulizer is clean and store it in the included carrying case to help protect it. Always carry your portable nebulizer and medication with you rather than packing it in your checked luggage or in the trunk of your car.
The Transportation Safety Association (TSA) allows portable nebulizers to be carried onto airplanes. It’s a good idea to inform the security screening agent that you have a nebulizer with you and to allow a little extra time to pass through security since it is likely that the device will be examined by hand. Check the TSA website for more information on nebulizers and prescription medication.
Most portable nebulizers cost between $50 and $200. They should last for several years and many people even use them at home as their primary device. This makes portable nebulizers a sound investment for people with an active lifestyle.