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Using an Inhaler

Inhalers are used to treat a variety of conditions and symptoms, including asthma and allergies. If you have been prescribed an inhaler, it may seem simple. You’ve probably seen them used before, or had someone briefly explain how to properly use an inhaler to you. However, many patients fail to properly use their inhaler. If not done properly, you may not receive all of the intended benefits of the medicine that the inhaler contains. To ensure that patients properly administer their inhaler, we have established a guide to help you through the process.

Preparing the Inhaler
  • Take off the cap of the inhaler, and shake the device vigorously for about 10 to 15 seconds.
  • If you haven’t used the inhaler in a while, you need to “prime” the device. See our priming section.
  • Exhale as much as you can.
Activating the Inhaler
  • Now that you’ve exhaled as much as you can, and the inhaler is in place, it’s time to activate the medicine.
  • Start breathing in, slowly. As you start to breathe in, press down on the inhaler canister (or other activation button).
  • Continue to breathe in slowly, as much as you can.
  • Once you can’t breathe in any more, hold your breath for 10 seconds – or as long as you safely can.

Repeat as indicated by the medicine. Many inhalers require 2 “puffs” to complete a dose.

Priming the Inhaler

If the inhaler is new, or hasn’t been used for a while, you will need to prime the device. This is due to settling that naturally occurs in the canister. To ensure that you receive the intended medicine, and not just a puff of pressurized air, please follow the instructions that came with the device. You should never use an inhaler that needs primed.

When to replace the Inhaler

Inhalers typically come with a counter on them, indicating when the device needs replaced. When the counter reads “0”, it is time to replace your inhaler. You should never place the inhaler in water to see if it is empty, as this doesn’t work – and poses a major risk when the device is administered again.

Credits: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000041.htm

 

Using Nasal Spray

 

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