When you are living with COPD, you are probably familiar with using an inhaler. Have you noticed any change in effectiveness? It could be that you need a higher dose or maybe a review on how you use your inhaler. There are different types of inhalers that require special attention on how you use it. It can deliver the medication more effectively, making it easier to breathe.
Useful tips on using your inhaler
Here are a few tips to use your inhaler correctly and effectively:
- If you need to use more than one puff per dose, you should have some time between each puff.
- Don’t breathe in and out too fast between each puff.
- Sit upright or stand straight when using an inhaler.
- Shake the inhaler well before puffing.
- Start breathing in as soon as you press the inhaler.
- Hold your breath for at least 10 seconds after breathing in.
- Clean the inhaler each month. Clean the mouthpiece after each use. Let the air-dry. Don’t use a cloth to rub them dry.
There are two main types of inhalers: Metered-dose inhalers (MDI) and breath-activated inhalers or dry powdered inhalers.
Proper use of a meter-dose inhaler
A metered-dose inhaler is the most common type of inhaler. It works by delivering medication through a pressurized inactive gas that pushes the medication into your lungs. This is efficient and effective to use but it requires more coordination. Some people have trouble using these inhalers. Some errors that occur when you forget to shake the inhaler before using, inhale too quickly or when you don’t hold your breath long enough.
Proper use of a breath-activated inhaler
Breath-activated inhalers, also known as dry powdered inhalers, are easier to use because you don’t need to press the inhaler and requires less coordination. It still works through a pressurized method but the medication is a dry powder that is delivered to your lungs. You will need to breathe hard into your mouthpiece in order to activate the medication and deliver it to your lungs.
Proper use of an inhaler with a spacer
If you still have problems using your inhaler, you may need to use a spacer. A spacer is a device that helps you use your inhaler. It extends from your mouthpiece and helps the medication slowly travel to your mouth. Most children and older adults will need a spacer to help them use the inhaler more efficiently. If you think you can benefit from a spacer, you should let your doctor or pharmacist know. Keep it clean by using only warm water and air-dry overnight. You should not use a cloth to rub it dry.
Steps on how to clean your inhaler
It is important to keep your inhaler clean, especially the mouthpiece. Here are some steps that can help you keep your inhaler clean.
1. Remove the metal canister from the inhaler (if your inhaler is metered-dose).
2. Make sure there are no objects clogging the area.
3. Rinse only the mouthpiece and cap in warm water.
4. Let them air dry overnight (Do not use a cloth to rub it dry).
5. In the morning, put the canister back inside. Put the cap on.
6. Do not rinse any other parts.
These tips may help you get the most medicine out of your inhaler. This will help you breathe better and reduce any flare-ups. Make sure to talk to your doctor or pharmacist before changing any doses or inhalers. They can show you what you may be doing wrong.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: January 17, 2017 | Last Modified: January 17, 2017
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How to use an inhaler – no spacer. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/patientinstructions/000041.htm . Accessed January 17, 2017.
Inhalers – what are they and what do they do?. http://patient.info/blogs/sarah-says/2013/04/inhalers—what-are-they-and-what-do-they-do. Accessed January 17, 2017.
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