Top 10 Inhaler Mistakes

Inhaled asthma medicine has to reach the lungs to be effective.

Here are 10 common mistakes people make when using an inhaler and how to correct them.

1. Sitting down

How to Fix it: Standing allows the lungs to fully inhale and provides more power to exhale. We recommend the standing position for better results!

2. Using an empty inhaler

How to Fix it: Keep a spare inhaler or buy one when one is half full so you never run out.

Tip: If you want to be sure if you inhaler is full or empty – Dispense the canister part of the inhaler in a glass of water, If it floats then it means your inhaler is over, and you require a new one.

3. Not shaking or priming the inhaler

How to Fix it: Shake the inhaler canister 10 to 15 times for the medication to be ready to work and then release four test sprays. Now the medicine is ready to come out in a full dose. Prime again if not used for several weeks.

4. Not using a spacer with the inhaler

How to Fix it: A spacer helps deliver the medication to the airways instead of the mouth. Insert the inhaler into the spacer. Spray one puff of medicine and inhale slowly. Hold your breath for a count of 10, and exhale slowly.

Tip: Learn how to use a spacer correctly by consulting your pharmacist!

5. Holding the head too far forward or backward

How to Fix it: The head needs to be in a neutral position, not too far back or too far forward, to help make a direct path for the medicine to reach the airways.

6. Tongue or teeth in the way of spacer/inhaler opening

How to Fix it: Put the spacer/inhaler in the mouth above the tongue, under the top teeth.

7. Mouth not tight enough around spacer/inhaler

How to Fix it: Close the lips around the spacer so air does not escape.

8. Directing the spacer/inhaler at tongue or roof of mouth

How to Fix it: Aim the spacer/inhaler at the back of the throat, so the medicine reaches the lungs.

9. Spraying several puffs of inhaler into spacer

How to Fix it: Only spray one puff of the inhaler at a time into the spacer, breathe out before you inhale. Hold your breath for a count of 10 then exhale. Repeat for the number of puffs the doctor prescribed.

10. Inhaling medicine too fast or too slowly, or through nose

Fix it: Remind yourself that the inhaler is in the mouth, so it is the mouth that needs to inhale the medicine because it gets to the lungs faster. Inhale slowly. A whistle from the spacer means the inhalation is too fast

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