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Inhalers and Proper Usage

Couple breathing easier after learning how to use an asthma inhaler

Breathing easy never felt so good.

Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, breath out.
For most people, breathing easy is automatic. Simple. But, for those with asthma, breathing well isn’t taken for granted. That’s why it’s crucial that asthma patients are up-to-speed on how to properly use asthma inhalers. That way, your medicine can have the biggest impact on your airways.

Before you have to use your asthma inhaler, it’s important to know the triggers that cause the need for it in the first place:

  • Allergens such as dust mites, pollens, mold, and pet dander
  • Airborne irritants such as the following:
    • Cigarette smoke
    • Air pollution
    • Wood fires
    • Charcoal grills
    • Dust
    • Chemicals (including, but not limited to, household cleaners)
  • Respiratory illnesses like the flu, colds, sinus infections, and pneumonia
  • Exercise
  • Dry, cold air or sudden changes in the weather
  • Medicines like aspirin, NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), or beta blockers
  • Sulfites in food
  • Hormonal changes caused by menstrual cycles
  • Acid reflux

If you’re unsure what your triggers are, make an appointment with one of our board-certified allergists in Cincinnati or Richmond, Indiana. They can help you identify the allergens that affect you most. That way, you can have an asthma action plan in place before an attack.

Your asthma action plan could likely include an inhaler. It’s incredibly important to learn how to properly use your inhaler, since 70-80% of the medicine could end up in your mouth (instead of deep into your airways) if you don’t know the proper technique.

How to Use an Asthma Inhaler:
1. Be sure you’re standing, staring straight ahead. By standing, your lungs will be able to expand to full capacity. Plus, when you keep your head in a neutral position (not forward or backward), it ensures the medication will go to your airways and not stay in your mouth.
2. Shake the asthma inhaler well before using it (3-4 shakes should do it)

3. Remove the cap. (Sorry, we know that sounds really obvious.)

4. Push a deep breath out, away from your inhaler.

5. Put the inhaler in your mouth between your teeth, and close your mouth around it.

6. Start to breathe in slowly. Press the top of your inhaler once and keep breathing in slowly until you have taken a full breath. If you hear a whistling sound from the spacer, you’re probably inhaling too quickly.

7. Remove the inhaler from your mouth, and hold your breath for about 10 seconds, then breathe out.

Keep Your Asthma Inhaler in Tip-top Shape!
To get the most out of your inhaler, keep it clean and store it at room temperature. Here’s how to keep your asthma inhaler in peak condition:

  • Before cleaning your inhaler, remove the metal canister. Use mild soap and water to remove the plastic part, keeping the metal canister away from the water. Air-dry the plastic parts, and put the inhaler back together. Test it by releasing a puff of medicine into the air.
  • Always follow the instructions that came with your asthma inhaler.
  • Store it at room temperature, and warm it only by using your hands.
  • Protect the canister so that it doesn’t get punctured.

If you have any questions about how to use your asthma inhaler, we’ll be happy to help. Our board-certified allergists and our medical team are available at four locations in Cincinnati and one in Richmond, Indiana. Feel free to call or make an appointment so we can help you breathe easy. make an appointment