How to use Inhaler correctly for Asthma

Have you ever wondered if you use the inhaler correctly? You first click on the inhaler button, and then inhale the medicine or vice versa?

Do not worry! A lot of people doubt how to properly use the inhaler, taking it for the first time in the hands. The inhaler is the most effective way of rapidly injecting medication into the body, suffering from asthma and other lung diseases. If you or a person close to you have asthma, it is very important to know as much as possible about inhalers, including how to use it properly.

What is an inhaler?

The inhaler is a pocket device that injects the medicine directly into the lungs. Of course, you can take the medicine orally or intravenously, but the inhaler injects the medicine directly into the lungs and helps stop the exacerbation of asthma symptoms much more quickly and with fewer side effects.

How does the medicine get into the lungs?

The drug enters the lungs using an inhaler in several ways:

  • Dosing inhaler. The drug enters the lungs through a small aerosol filter carton. When you press on the inhaler, the medicine enters your mouth without irritating the mucous membrane, and you inhale it.
  • Dry inhaler. When using a dry inhaler, you need to breathe deeply into the lungs. These inhalers use a little more difficult, especially during an asthma attack, when you have difficulty breathing and lack of air. Therefore, carefully read the instructions for each dry inhaler, since they are very different from each other. The method of use to which you have adapted can be approached to one inhaler and not to approach another.

What medications are used in inhalers?

Medications that are used in inhalers include anti-inflammatory drugs (steroids, for example, prednisone), bronchodilators (beta-2 agonist), or both (combined inhalers).

Inhalers with anti-inflammatory drugs. Anti-inflammatory medications used in inhalers help prevent asthma attacks and reduce swelling and excessive mucus formation in the airways. These drugs allow asthmatics to better control the course of the disease. The anti-inflammatory drugs include:

  • Corticosteroids
  • Mast cell stabilizers that prevent an allergic reaction

Inhalers with bronchodilator. The bronchodilator can be of short or long duration. They are used to relieve asthma symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath and cough. Inhaled bronchodilators open and expand the airways, acting much faster than oral medications. The bronchodilators used in inhalers include:

  • A fast-acting beta-agonist, including albuterol, Alupent, Maxair, Xopenex
  • Long-acting beta-agonist
  • Inhalers, containing and albuterol, and ipratropium (anticholinergic bronchodilator). The combination of albuterol and ipratropium can also be used in aerosols.
Bronchodilators: a remedy for acute Asthma symptoms
Bronchodilators: a remedy for acute Asthma symptoms

How do you know that there is still a medicine in the inhaler?

Most of the inhalers have a built-in counter. With the rest, there may be some difficulty in determining the remainder of the medication in the inhaler. Most asthmatics will tell you about their experience with inhalers: they believe that there is no more medicine when there is no longer a “puff” sound when pressed. But the problem is that many inhalers can produce a similar sound for a long time after the drug has ended. You can use the inhaler correctly and hear the “puff” sound during the injection, but the inhaler can be completely empty. And this is a serious problem when you depend on medications that prevent asthma attacks.

The best way to find out if there is another medicine in the inhaler, which does not have a counter, is to mark the number of doses used by the inhaler and shake the inhaler after each “puff” sound. The number of possible doses contained in the inhaler is usually indicated on the inhaler itself or the filter box. Indicate the approximate date on the calendar when the medication in the inhaler should end, and try to buy a new one before this date. Keep an extra one or two inhalers at home. Carefully read the instructions that are attached to the inhaler. Some inhalers must be shaken before use, others need to be pumped several times after prolonged stagnation.

When is the separator used with the inhaler?

A separator is a tube that is attached to an inhaler and holds the medicine until you inhale it. This simplifies the use of the inhaler and helps to inject the medication into the lungs more efficiently. Not all inhalers should be used together with the separator, so consult an apothecary. There are times when metered-dose inhalers and conventional inhalers can be used without a separator. Your doctor will advise which method is best for you.

Separators with a mask are usually necessary for children or someone who can not properly inhale with a traditional separator that is attached to an inhaler.


How correctly to use metered-dose inhalers?

Inhaler (metered-dose inhaler) with the separator:

metered-dose inhalers
metered-dose inhalers
  1. Remove the caps from the inhaler and separator. Shake the inhaler to make sure there is still medicine in it.
  2. Insert the inhaler into the open end of the separator, which is located on the opposite side of the tip (which is inserted directly into the mouth).
  3. Pinch the tip between your teeth and squeeze your lips tightly around it.
  4. Take a deep breath.
  5. Click on the inhaler to release the medicine. The medicine will go to the separator.
  6. Slowly and deeply inhale through the mouth. When using some separators, you can hear a specific sound if you inhale too quickly. This means that you should breathe more slowly.
  7. Hold your breath for 10 seconds to give the medicine the maximum penetration into the lungs.
  8. Wait a minute and repeat steps 1-7.
  9. When done, put the caps on the inhaler and separator.
  10. If you use an inhaler with steroid content, after each intake, rinse your mouth with water or with an oral rinse.

Inhaler (metered-dose inhaler) without separator:

  1. Remove the cap from the inhaler and shake it.
  2. Hold the inhaler by placing your index finger on the metal filter box and your thumb on the plastic tip.
  3. Slightly throw back your head and exhale.
  4. Open wide mouth, insert the inhaler into your mouth about 5 cm.
  5. Inhale and exhale once.
  6. As soon as you start taking the next breath, click on the metal filter. Slowly and as deeply as possible inhale. The breath should last from three to five seconds.
  7. Hold your breath for 10 seconds, which will allow the medicine to penetrate the lungs as much as possible.
  8. Wait a minute and repeat steps 1-7.
  9. When finished, put the cap on the inhaler. If the inhaler contains a steroid, after each intake, rinse the mouth with water or with a mouth rinse.

Inhaler (metered-dose inhaler) with a separator mask:

  1. Remove the cap from the inhaler and shake it.
  2. Insert the inhaler into the soft ring on the end of the separator (on the back of the mask).
  3. Carefully wear a mask on the nose and mouth of the child, making sure that the mask is densely seated on the face.
  4. Release some medicine into the separator.
  5. Tightly hold the mask on the child’s face until he makes up to six breaths.
  6. Wait one minute.
  7. Repeat the above steps.
  8. After the procedure is completed, you must again pull the inhaler out of the separator.
  9. After each use of an inhaler with a corticosteroid, be sure to rinse your face with a mild soap and water. If possible, also rinse the baby’s mouth.
How to use Inhaler correctly for Asthma
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