Guide to How and When To Use Your Inhaler


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Not all inhalers are made equal, nor are they made for the same purpose. A medical device used to release medication into an individual’s lungs, the inhaler is also known as a puffer or pump. It is often used to treat individuals with asthma.

Navigating through the various inhalers and the purpose and function of each is difficult, which is why we’ve broken it down for you to have a more comprehensive understanding of inhalers below.

The Daily Inhaler: Control Inhaler

This specific type of inhaler helps prevent coughing eruptions and helps to prevent symptoms from worsening. Control inhalers have specific medicine within the inhaler that is released into the body and helps to control inflammation. Always use as directed by your doctor once or twice daily whether you are having symptoms or if you are feeling fine.

Fast Relief: Rescue Inhaler

Rescue inhalers provide efficient and effective relief to the lungs and breathing when one is short of breath, wheezing, coughing or feeling tight in the chest. Keep your rescue inhaler on hand in case you need it if symptoms occur or you are going to be around asthma triggers. Rescue inhalers only provide short term relief for symptoms.

How To Use Standard MDI Inhaler

Here are the correct steps to using the MDI inhaler:

  • Shake the inhaler for five seconds. Remove the inhaler cap and hold it upright and ensure you’re standing or sitting.
  • If the doctor prescribes the use of a spacer (plastic chamber) to filter medicine between the mouth, put the inhaler into the spacer.
  • Tilt your head back just slightly and exhale all the way.
  • Put inhaler in your mouth and press down on inhaler quickly to allow the medicine to release as you inhale slowly.
  • Inhale for three to five seconds, hold the breath for 10 seconds to have the medicine fully go into your lungs.
  • Exhale slowly and repeat the number of inhales advised by the doctor.

For steroid inhalers, follow the previous instructions but ensure you rinse out and gargle with water after use.

How To Use a Dry Powder Inhaler

Here are the correct steps to using a dry powder inhaler:

  • Remove the inhaler cap and load the capsule for single-use inhalers.
  • Exhale slowly (not onto the inhaler mouthpiece).
  • Place the mouthpiece between your front teeth and close your lips around it.
  • Inhale through your mouth deeply for approximately two to three seconds.
  • Remove the inhaler from your mouth while holding your breath between four to 10 seconds.
  • Exhale out slowly.

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