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Breathing Treatments for Respiratory Problems in Southeastern Massachusetts

At Southcoast Health, our doctors provide breathing treatments for respiratory problems. Also known as nebulizer therapy, breathing treatments are inhaled to treat wheezing, shortness of breath and other respiratory issues you may be experiencing. 

Reasons for Breathing Treatments

Your respiratory therapist may recommend breathing treatments to treat airway inflammation, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing and thick mucus due to the following diseases and conditions:


Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening allergic reaction that causes swelling of the breathing passages.

Chronic Respiratory Diseases

Examples of chronic respiratory diseases include asthma, cystic fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which include chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

Lung Infections

Examples of lung infections include pneumonia, acute bronchitis, and fungal and viral infections.

What is Nebulizer Therapy?

A medical nebulizer is a drug delivery device that turns liquid medicines into a mist for inhalation. This makes it easier for patients to inhale the medication into their lungs. The base of the nebulizer contains an air compressor that is connected to the container of medicine by a tube. When the air compressor is pushed down, the liquid medicine turns into a mist, which the patient then inhales.  

Nebulizers can be used for a variety of medications, both for immediate relief and maintenance of a breathing condition. Examples of breathing treatment medications include:

Antimicrobial Medications

Antimicrobial medications treat respiratory infections. Examples are pentamidine (Nebupent), ribavirin (Virazole) and tobramycin (TOBI).

Bronchodilator Medications

Bronchodilator medications help relax and open airways. Examples include:

Short-acting beta agonists – bronchodilators that quickly relax and open your narrowed airways. Examples include albuterol sulfate (AccuNeb) and levalbuterol HCl (Xopenex).

Long-acting beta agonists – bronchodilators that you use in combination with inhaled corticosteroids. Examples include arformoterol (Brovana) and formoterol (Perforomist).

Combination Medications

Examples of combination medications include ipratropium and albuterol (DuoNeb).


Corticosteroids reduce airway inflammation, including budesonide (Pulmicort Respules).


Mucolytics loosen, thin and clear mucus secretions from the lungs. Examples include acetylcysteine (Mucomyst) and dornase alfa (Pulmozyme).

Racemic Epinephrine

Racemic epinephrine treats severe asthma attacks, croup and other emergency breathing situations.

What to Expect with Breathing Treatments

Breathing treatments are quick, easy and painless. Nebulizer therapy can either be administered at our hospitals and urgent care facilities, or a nebulizer may be prescribed for you to use at home. If done at one of our facilities, your pulmonologist will start by connecting the hose to an air compressor. He or she will then fill the medicine cup with your prescription, attaching the hose and mouthpiece to the medicine cup. A face mask is sometimes used instead of a mouthpiece, especially for small children.

Once your doctor has finished setting the nebulizer up, the machine will be turned on, and you will spend about 10-20 minutes breathing in and out with the mouthpiece in your mouth. It’s important that you are only breathing through your mouth so that way you take in all the medication. If you cannot do this on your own, you may need to use a nose clip. 

Ideal Candidate for Breathing Treatments

Medications in mist form are easy to inhale, making nebulizers useful for treating infants, children and others who may have difficulty using respiratory inhalers. Nebulizers can be used to help patients who struggle from allergic reactions, asthma, cystic fibrosis, COPD, other chronic respiratory diseases, and lung infections.

Nebulizer Therapy in Massachusetts and Rhode Island

If you’re having trouble breathing, come to Southcoast Health for dependable breathing treatments. Our team of expert respiratory therapists and nurses can help determine the best nebulizer therapy for your condition, and teach you how you can implement your treatment at home. Contact us today to find a doctor near you today for respiratory services that can improve your health and quality of life.