When And How To Use An Inhaler?

There are several mistakes people often make while taking medicine directly into their lungs. Yes, I’m talking about the Use of an Inhaler. Wrong use of inhaler results in not taking the recommended dose of medicine to keep the disease under control. 

The correct use of an inhaler ensures the prescribed amount of medicine you are inhaling. Knowing when and how to use an inhaler can help to get rid of mistakes. Actually, there are many things to know alongside putting the device into your mouth. 

Most commonly used inhalers (Meter dose and Dry powder) need different usage techniques to get the most out of them. Let’s discuss the proper use of different types of inhalers and what mistakes you should avoid while using one.

When To Use An Inhaler

Use your inhaler when you need to boost up your respiratory conditions. This may be when you feel shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, or tightness in the chest. Besides, a physiotherapy device is needed when you are going to do intense physical activity. For instance, climbing on hills, stairs, or any physical sport that may make you breathless. 

If you’re wondering when to use a Respiratory Physiotherapy Device, without medicines like an OPEP device, this is because they work quickly. They work instantly where you need them to work, in the airways and in the lungs. There’re many OPEP devices available like Airphysio, that work in a natural way without any chemicals. 

People who are dealing with asthma, reactive airways, emphysema, or chronic bronchitis, an inhaler or respiratory device can be a valuable tool. Because they can be used when you don’t have any symptoms. Anytime, anywhere they are perfect to clean your respiratory system.

How To Use An Inhaler

In the medication process of respiratory conditions using an inhaler is pretty common as it’s more effective than medicine. But there are various types of inhalers doctors often prescribed for different medical conditions. Their techniques and functionalities are different from each other.

As no matter what type of inhaler you are using, you just need to be aware of the proper use of your inhaler. So, let’s go through the techniques of the most common inhaler types.

1. Metered Dose Inhaler

Metered Dose Inhaler or MDI is an L-shaped plastic container that attaches with a detachable canister. The canister contains aerosolized medicine. On the end of the plastic container, there is a mouthpiece that provides an opening which allows the patient to inhale the aerosolized medicine.

How To Use

Here is a step-by-step guideline for using metered-dose inhalers with proper technique. Though for the right utilization, it’s always recommended to follow the manufacturing guideline in the user manual.

  1. Detach the lid from the inhaler and shake it for 3 to 4 seconds. 
  1. Position your index finger to the top of the tin canister and place your thumb to the bottom of the mouthpiece. 
  1. Grip the inhaler in the upright position and sit down straight or stand up. 
  1. Exhale all the air in your lungs thus your head tilts slightly backward. 
  1. Hold the mouthpiece on your teeth and close your lips around it. 
  1. Press the inhaler while you are taking a breath slowly and inhale the medication.
  1. Hold your breath for 8 to 10 seconds and breathe out slowly.
  1. Remove the inhaler from your mouth and place the lid again.
  1. Wash out your mouth with mouthwash or clean water.

N.B: There are some MDI with a spacer, to use them you just need to put the inhaler into the spacer. And rest of the steps remain the same as mentioned above. 

2. Dry Powder Inhaler

A dry-powder inhaler or DPI is a device which provides medication on the lung in the form of dry powder. They are commonly used in the treatment of respiratory diseases like bronchitis, asthma, emphysema. There are generally three types, unit dose device, multiple unit-dose devices, reservoir devices.

How To Use

  1. Recharge the medication dose according to instruction, since there are different types of dry powder, the process may vary. 
  2. Be sure thus the medication is correctly loaded in the inhaler and ready for use. 
  3. Stand upright or sit straightly and breathe out properly through the mouth.
  4. Keep the mouthpiece on your teeth and close your lips thus it’s properly sealed.
  5. Breathe quickly and deeply. For some devices, you may hear and feel the sound of vibration when medication gets released from the capsule.
  6. Take the inhaler out and hold your breath for 10 seconds.
  7. Inspect if there is any powder remaining in the inhaler, if there, repeat the step. 

NB: In the case of multi-dose inhalers, though they are pre-loaded with medication, you don’t need to follow steps 1 and 2. 

What Mistakes Should Avoid While Using An Inhaler

The proper treatment does not only rely on a visit to a good doctor. Following the doctor’s suggestion correctly is also a part of treatment. Due to making some common mistakes while using an inhaler, most people don’t get the best outcome from it. So, here we enlisted some of the factors that one should avoid when using an inhaler. 

  • Shake the Canister: Your inhaler contains medicine to ease your breathing process. Shaking the canister helps to mix the ingredients properly and you get the highest benefit from it. So, before use shake the canister 10 to 15 times before use. 
  • Breathe Too Late Or Too Soon: Generally, inhaler release dose between less than half of second. So, if you breathe in after a puff, a lot of medicine may stick into your mouth. And if you fill up your lung before taking the medicine into the lung, the medicine dont get in there and your puffs go in vain. So, don’t breathe in too late or too soon. 
  • Have loose Lips: When your lips are loose enough when you are puffing medicine by inhaler, your medicine may go out from your mouth. Therefore make sure during a single puff, your lips are totally sealed around. 
  • Skip the Instructions: All types of inhalers are not made for the same purpose. Some are used every day while others are used when you need them. And all those different types work in different techniques depending on breathing patterns. So, before use, read the instruction manual carefully and talk with your doctor about how to use an inhaler in the right way.

Final Thought

If you are new to using inhalers, it is important that you know the best times and places for use. For instance, if your asthma symptoms worsen after eating or exercising then consider using an inhaler before performing either of those activities. Additionally, make sure to hold the device upright when inhaling medication.