How to Use an Inhaler Correctly
Do you feel like a pro when it comes to using your asthma inhaler? Some asthmatics are very comfortable with this form of medication, while others may be in need of a refresher course to make sure their technique is up to par. Further, with the introduction of the HFA inhalers, other asthmatics are suddenly wondering how the environmentally friendly propellant changes the actual delivery of medication.
Regardless of your situation, it never hurts to check your ability to use your inhaler properly since you'll want to be sure you're getting the full health benefits you need to feel your best.
Get the Facts
The good news is that the medication contained in today's HFA style inhalers hasn't changed. Further, they still work using a metered dose style, which means that they deliver a measured dose of the medication into your lungs. The difference, though, is in the way that the medicine is actually propelled from the canister, so the force of the delivery, as well as the consistency, may vary slightly from what you've become used to.
Steps to Use an HFA Inhaler
As long as you are using your inhaler properly, the effects you get should remain the same as they've always been. Please review the following how-to steps to check your technique.
- Take the canister containing the medicine and shake it.
- Remove the cap from the mouthpiece.
- Hold the mouthpiece one to two inches away from your mouth and open your lips and tilt your head back slightly. (Note that some people prefer to hold the mouthpiece right between their lips, which is also okay.)
- Exhale, then press down gently on the top of the canister so that it sprays a fine mist.
- Slowly breathe the mist in for about 5 seconds.
- Hold your breath for another 10 seconds to allow the medicine to travel into your lungs. Then release.
- Wait a minute or two, then repeat as directed.
Address Concerns Promptly
If you aren't sure if you're getting enough medication or are using the inhaler correctly, or if you think you may be running out of medication sooner than you expected, be sure to keep track of your usage and your symptoms, and share this information with your doctor. He can offer guidance and can also school you on the correct technique. He can also address any concerns you have about the HFA inhaler. Remember that knowing how to use an inhaler correctly is your best defense to keep your asthma in check.
American Academy of Family Physicians
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
American Thoracic Society
Sign Up for Free Newsletters
Ask Your Doctor the RIGHT Questions!
the most from your doctor visit.
Emailed right to you!
The Ask Your Doctor email series
may contain sponsored content.
18+, US residents only please.
Explore Original Articles About...
Get the MOST from QualityHealth
- Top Searches
- 1. Arthritis Management: Nature Heals
- 2. 5 Digestive To-Dos
- 3. Men: Should You Shave It or Leave It?
- 4. Today's Top Fitness Trends
- 5. Sugar and Osteoarthritis : The Link
- 6. Can't Afford Your Hospital Bills?
- 7. Stay Energized All Day Long
- 8. Phobias: Who Has Them and Why?
- 9. What If Your EpiPen Fails?
- 10. 5 Costly Medical Billing Mistakes
- 1. Hotter Temperatures Linked To Kidney Stones
- 2. Summer Bug Bites: What to Look For
- 3. Skin Health Advice with Dr. Kenneth Beer
- 4. Summer Safety Tips That Every Parent Needs To Know
- 5. Sugar and Your Immunity System
- 6. Do Weight Loss Supplements Work?
- 7. 5 Super Foods for Spring
- 8. The Hazards of Reusable Bags
- 9. How to Avoid Ingrown Hairs
- 10. Health Tip: Constantly Change Shoes
- 1. 4 Common Treatments for Epilepsy
- 2. What Does a Urogynecologist Do?
- 3. GERD Without Heartburn? It's Possible
- 4. Graston Technique: Can It Work on You?
- 5. Music Therapy Can Help Autism
- 6. 8 Ways to Fight MS-Related Fatigue
- 7. Can You Still Bleed After Menopause?
- 8. Be Your Own Health Care Advocate
- 9. Why Is Syphillis on the Rise?
- 10. Ideal Weight vs. Happy Weight
The material on the QualityHealth Web site is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment provided by a physician or other qualified health provider. See additional information.