Incorrect usage of inhalers is very common in adults and children, including experienced inhaler users. Full dose of medicine will not reach the lung if incorrect method is used, leading to poor symptom control. Incorrect method can increase the risk of hospitalisation, emergency visits and also use of oral medication. As it is very common to use incorrect technique, doctor will always evaluate the technique of using inhalers before increasing the dose. Correct technique depends on the inhaler type, so patients need to understand the right steps for their own inhaler.
How to use Asthma Inhaler:
- Take the cap of the inhaler and make sure the mouthpiece and spray hole are clean.
- Shake the inhaler for at least 10-15 times before the use.
- Stand up or sit up straight
- Take a breathe and breathe out all the way by tilting the head back slightly without the inhaler
- Holding the inhaler plays an important role, so hold it upright.
- Keep the inhaler in your mouth above the tongue and between the teeth, seal the inhaler with your lips.
- Start breathing slowly and press down the inhaler simultaneously on time and keep breathing in.
- Hold your breath for 5-10secs which prevents exhaling the medicine out.
- Take the inhaler of your mouth, now open your mouth and breathe out slowly.
- If you are supposed to take 2 puffs of medicine per dose, wait one minute and repeat steps 3 through 9.
- If you are using an inhaled corticosteroid, rinse out your mouth with water and spit it out after each dose to reduce the risk of oropharyngeal candidiasis also called as oral thrush caused by medicine deposited in the mouth.
Below are some tips to avoid incorrect usage of inhalers:
- Ask your doctor to explain the technique before you start using the inhaler.
- Show your doctor the technique followed by you if you are not trained earlier and check if there are any mistakes in the usage.
- Check with your doctor every 3 months to make sure you are using the correct technique without miss.
- Don’t tilt the device while using it
- Exhale fully before inhaling the medicine
- Inhale the medicine completely and slowly
- Exhaling into the device mouthpiece before or after Inhaling is a wrong technique
- Close the inhaler after every use
- Check for expiry date before the usage
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions about usage and cleaning of the devices.
Dr. Y. Alekhya.