Does the Breath Actuated Nebulizer (BAN) actually protect you from dangerous aerosols?

Protecting healthcare workers using PPE for airborne precautions became even more important during the Covid-19 pandemic than even before. However, some of the medical  tools used in the past proved to be endangering medical workers even despite their PPE.

One of the tools would be the use of Breath Actuated Nebulizer.

What is a Breath Actuated Nebulizer, a.k.a BAN and does it actually minimize aerosols?

A breath actuated nebulizer is designed to dispense medication only when the patient inhales and therefore the answer is YES, it does produce less medical aerosols.

However, the goal of the Breath Actuated Nebulizer (BAN) is maximizing medication delivery, not reducing aerosols.  Because it only dispenses medication when the patient inspires, it keeps most of the medication in the nebulizer chamber until inhalation. 

Does that mean that the BAN will keep people in the surrounding environment safe??

Contrary to popular belief, the answer is NO!

The problem with the Breath Actuated Nebulizer (BAN) is that it does not mitigate or even reduce patient BIO Aerosols! These are the dangerous aerosols produced by patient. The BAN only reduces the medical aerosols, which ironically, are not a health concern.

BIO aerosols are what we need the protection from

Remember, bio aerosols are the dangerous aerosols and these Bio Aerosols are spread through coughing, sneezing and speaking loudly. Patient pathogens are most commonly spread through Bio Aerosols which is why masks have helped protect people from spreading communicable diseases. 

COVID-19 is a great example of this and has brought about a new awareness around bio aerosols. It’s likely that we will never look at aerosols the same way again.  

Another reason that the BAN does not protect people in the surrounding environment is that the BAN has NO FILTER. Further, the most commonly used BANs such as the AeroEclipse II are simply mouthpiece jet nebulizers. Again, although they produce less MEDICAL AEROSOLS….they do not reduce patient BIO AEROSOLS a.k.a germs.

Example of Patient's Aerosol

Interestingly, most people don’t know that at the bottom part of the mouthpiece of the BAN is an exhale valve, so even if the patient breathes all their exhaled breath into the mouthpiece (highly unlikely), their breath will still be sent out into the environment.

Of most concern, when giving patients a nebulized treatment is that they start to cough when their airways open up. Coughing unknown pathogens into a closed compartment or confined space is likely dangerous to the surrounding people in that space.

In fact, research has shown that… 

Aerosols tend to hang out in the surrounding environment for minutes to hours depending on the circulation. (1,2) This is even more concerning in confined spaces such as an ambulance.

The truth is, aerosolized medications are very effective delivery method of depositing fine particles in the lungs as it’s a targeted method for treating patients with lung problems such as COPD, asthma and bronchitis. 

The benefit of targeted therapy is significant as it can obviate the need for systemic treatments such as epinephrine or terbutaline which can elevate patient blood pressure and heart rate. Aerosolized medications are also used for patients that have lung cancer and pulmonary fungal infections.   

So, if Breath Actuated Nebulizers (BANs) are not the answer to mitigating patient bio aerosols and keeping medical workers safe during the procedures, what is an option to give patients aerosolized medications in a safer way? 

Introducing FILTERED SafetyNeb Mask from Aerosoless Medical

Realizing the need to protect frontline workers during the pandemic, AerosoLess Medical developed a new filtered nebulizer mask which really does mitigate both medical aerosols and patient bioaerosols.  

Unlike the Breath Actuated Nebulizer, which was designed for maximizing medication delivery, the SafetyNeb Mask was designed from the very beginning to mitigate patient aerosols while still allowing delivery of medications to patients.  

It is a filtered mask which creates a tight but comfortable seal on the patient’s face.  Because of the tight seal, these viral/bacterial filters are put to work. 

Get a FREE sample today and try our safer nebulizing option for your patients with shortness of breath or Call @800-205-5913

Viral filters with efficacy rating of 99.997% to increase protection

The filters were tested at Nelson Labs and have an efficacy rating of 99.997%. Research has shown that the SafetyNeb Mask truly reduces aerosols (3)

Unlike the Breath Actuated Nebulizer, which was designed for maximizing medication delivery, the SafetyNeb Mask was designed from the very beginning to mitigate patient aerosols while still allowing delivery of medications to patients.

We know that millions of people have died due to COVID-19, an illness spread through Bio Aerosols. 

And even though aerosolized medication is an optimal method for delivering medication into the lungs, respecting the danger of aerosols is of paramount importance.


1. Long C.M., Suh H.H., Catalano P.J., Koutrakis P. Using time-and size-resolved particulate data to quantify indoor penetration and deposition behavior. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2001;35:2089–2099. doi: 10.1021/es001477d. [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar] 

2. Nazaroff W.W. Indoor particle dynamics. Indoor Air. 2004;14:175–183. Doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0668.2004.00286.x. [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar


3 . Safer Delivery of Aerosolized Medications When


Dealing With COVID-19 and Other Contagious Airborne Viruses Pepe et al ACEP Special Edition: COVID Forum 2021