How to Use an Inhaler Properly?

Instructions on How to Use an Inhaler Properly

Using a metered dose asthma inhaler (MDI) does not require any special skill or preparation techniques, however there are certain points that need to be followed in order for the treatment to be both safe and effective.

The following simple directions will help you to learn how to use an inhaler properly:

  1. Each metered dose asthma inhaler consists of a canister containing the medication and a plastic mouthpiece with a protective cap. To use an inhaler, insert the canister into the slot within the mouthpiece and remove the protective cap.
    * You can make sure the inhaler is properly assembled and ready to use by releasing several sprays into the air away from you. Do this every time you start using a new inhaler.
  2. Shake the inhaler before every use.
  3. Slightly tilt your head backwards and position the inhaler several inches away from your face, with the mouthpiece facing your mouth.
  4. Depending on the type of medication you are going to use, you may hold the inhaler in this same position (slightly away from your face) when releasing the medication, or you may place the mouthpiece in your mouth and close your lips around it. Some people may find keeping the mouthpiece in place with their lips more convenient; however the other method is deemed to be more effective if performed properly. Choose whichever option fits your condition the most.
  5. After you position the inhaler in place, start breath in slowly and release the medication by pressing on top of the canister with your index finger, while giving support to the bottom of the inhaler with your thumb.
  6. Continue to inhale slowly and calmly for 3 to 5 seconds, and then hold your breath for at least 10 seconds to allow the medication to settle in.
  7. If you need to take more than one inhalation at a time, wait at least 30 seconds then repeat steps 2 through 6.
  8. Put the protective cap back on the inhaler to avoid contamination.
    * Keep the inhaler away from heat of direct sunlight. If you wish to clean your inhaler, remove the medication canister and wash only the plastic mouthpiece under a stream of warm water, without using soap or cleaning solutions. Never wash the medication canister itself or let it become drenched in water or other liquids.