A woman happy using an inhaler on her outing and on the other side a woman unhappy using her nebulizer while out.

Inhalers: A True Luxury

Last updated: June 2022

In the years I have lived with asthma, I have racked up a lot of experiences regarding my chronic illness, whether intentional or not.

My asthma management is quite high maintenance, and I often find myself having to bring medications with me if I am going to be away from home for a few hours. Some of my medicines are administered through an inhaler, colloquially dubbed "puffers," while others I take require a nebulizer for administration.

My experiences with nebulizers

I have found quite a mental block in comparing the two methods of medications; nebulizing often feels more burdensome, monotonous, and overwhelming. It takes a lot more time and effort, and frequently a scurry to find an outlet. I tried to ameliorate at least the last challenge I listed by using a portable nebulizer, but my lack of technological and device competence was no match for the neb machine and it quickly fizzled out. Back to plugging in for me!

Over the years, I have nebulized at a wide range of locations, from swimming pools to the backseat of my car, and even random hallways at school. One day I found myself having to squat in a dusty stairwell (hello asthma triggers!) plugged into a half-broken outlet and I could not help but laugh. Humor is indeed my favorite coping mechanism.

The luxury of inhaler use over nebulizers

Inhalers seem like a luxury to me in comparison to some of those other encounters. They are considerably more compact and portable, and "puffing" takes much less time than a nebulized treatment. As I am constantly busy or on the go, I greatly value convenience and appreciate that aspect of inhalers over their nebulizing counterparts. It is so much easier to put an inhaler in my purse than to pack up my large-and-in-charge machine to leave the house. Another perk of my inhaled medicines is the ease at which they can be cleaned, again comparing them to my nebulizing cups, mouthpieces, and filters. Some things have streamlined this process for me such as handy-dandy dishwasher baskets (had to check and make sure everything was dishwasher safe of course!) and having extra sets of nebulizer parts everywhere I might use the devices, but that does not negate the fact that nebulizing can be a pain in the behind.

What is best for my asthma

Given a choice any day I would pick an inhaler over a nebulizer time and time again, but I do not often get that opportunity and find myself resigned to relishing my own personal sauna that comes with nebulized medicines. Multitasking has become my friend during the two-plus hours I spend every day with my beloved nebulizers, but I highly recommend staying away from computer work or you might have to find a new laptop...speaking from personal experience. When it comes down to it, there are many things we do not get to choose in regards to our chronic illnesses, but these times can really make you appreciate the little things. That is why I consider inhalers a truly luxurious innovation.

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