Using an inhaler for asthma involves a few simple steps. Here’s a general guide on how to use a standard metered-dose inhaler (MDI) with a spacer:
Shake the inhaler: Remove the cap from the inhaler and shake it well to ensure the medication is properly mixed. This step is important for metered-dose inhalers (MDIs) but may not be necessary for dry powder inhalers (DPIs).
Breathe out: Take a slow, deep breath out to completely empty your lungs.
Hold the inhaler: Hold the inhaler upright with your thumb on the base and your index and middle fingers on the top. Alternatively, you can hold it in a way that feels comfortable and stable for you.
Seal your lips around the mouthpiece: Place the mouthpiece of the inhaler between your teeth and seal your lips tightly around it to create a good seal. Make sure your tongue does not block the mouthpiece.
Start inhaling: Begin to breathe in slowly and deeply through your mouth. As you start inhaling, press down firmly on the canister or actuator to release one puff of medication into your mouth. Coordinate your inhalation with the press of the canister to ensure you receive the medication into your lungs.
Breathe in fully: Continue to breathe in slowly and deeply until your lungs are full. This ensures that the medication reaches the lower airways where it is most effective. Try to hold your breath for about 10 seconds if possible.
Wait and repeat (if necessary): If your healthcare provider has prescribed multiple puffs, wait about 30 to 60 seconds between puffs to allow the medication to settle in your airways. Repeat the process for each puff as directed.
Rinse your mouth (if prescribed): If you are using a corticosteroid inhaler, rinse your mouth with water and spit it out after each use to prevent potential side effects such as oral thrush.
Clean and store the inhaler: Replace the cap on the inhaler to protect it from dust and debris. If necessary, clean your inhaler as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
It’s important to note that the specific instructions for using an inhaler may vary depending on the type of inhaler and the medication prescribed. Therefore, it is always advisable to follow the instructions provided by your healthcare provider or read the package insert for your specific inhaler. Additionally, your healthcare provider can provide personalized guidance on the correct technique for using your inhaler effectively.