How to use your metered dose inhaler (adults) (The Basics)::
Do I need to do anything to get my inhaler ready? — Yes. The first time you use your inhaler, you need to get it ready. To do this, you:
- Take the cap off the mouthpiece
- Shake the inhaler for 5 seconds
- Press down on the canister to spray the medicine into the air (away from your face)
- Repeat these steps 3 more times
If you haven’t used your inhaler for more than 2 weeks, you should do the steps above before you use it.After your inhaler is ready, you can use it as prescribed.
How do I use my inhaler? — Each inhaler has its own directions. Your doctor or nurse will show you how to use yours. In general, to use a metered dose inhaler, you:
- Take the cap off the mouthpiece.
- Shake the inhaler for 5 seconds.
- Hold the inhaler upright with your finger on the top of the canister and your thumb holding the bottom of the inhaler.
- Breathe out a normal breath.
- Close your lips around the mouthpiece, or hold the mouthpiece 1 to 2 inches (4 cm) in front of your mouth.
- As you start to inhale the next breath, press down on the canister.
- Keep inhaling deeply and slowly through your mouth.
- When your lungs are full, hold your breath for 5 to 10 seconds to keep the medicine in your lungs.
- Let your breath out.
- If you are supposed to take 2 puffs of your inhaler, wait 15 to 30 seconds before you take the second puff. Shake the inhaler again before the second puff.
- Put the cap back on the mouthpiece.
- If you use a “glucocorticoid” (steroid) inhaler, rinse your mouth out with water, gargle, and spit out the water.
What if I have trouble pressing on the canister and breathing in? — If you have trouble pressing down on the canister and breathing in at the same time, let your doctor or nurse know. He or she can prescribe a:
- Different metered dose inhaler — One kind of metered dose inhaler works in a different way. It sprays medicine when a person takes a deep breath, instead of when he or she presses down on the canister.
- Spacer — A spacer is a device that attaches to the inhaler’s mouthpiece. When a person presses down on the canister, the medicine sprays into the spacer and sits there until he or she breathes it in.
How do I use an inhaler with a spacer? — To use an inhaler with a spacer, follow the general directions above. But before you press down on the canister, close your lips around the spacer’s mouthpiece. After you press down on the canister, breathe in deeply and slowly, and hold your breath for 5 to 10 seconds. Let your breath out. Then breathe in again and hold your breath for 5 to 10 seconds.
Some spacers let you know if you breathe in too fast by making a whistle noise. If you hear a whistle noise when you breathe in, make sure to breathe in more slowly.
Do I need to clean my inhaler? — Yes. If you use your inhaler every day, clean it at least once a week. If you don’t use your inhaler every day, you can clean it less often. To know when you need to clean it, look inside the mouthpiece. Clean your inhaler when you see powder in or around the hole.
To clean an inhaler, you:
- Remove the canister and cap from the mouthpiece. Do not wash the metal canister or put the canister under water.
- Run warm water through the mouthpiece for 30 to 60 seconds.
- Shake the water off of the mouthpiece and let it air-dry overnight.
Do I need to clean my spacer? — Yes. If you use an AeroChamber spacer every day, clean it every 1 to 2 weeks . Wash it with warm water and dishwashing soap, rinse it, and let it air-dry. Do not put it in the dishwasher.
If you use an InspirEase chamber every day, replace the bag every 1 to 2 weeks Clean the mouthpiece in warm water, rinse it, and let it air-dry. Do not wash the bag.
How do I know if my inhaler is empty? — Some inhalers come with a built-in dose counter . A counter keeps track of how many doses are left in your inhaler.