Using an Inhaler

By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , /

Inhalers are small devices that deliver medications
like bronchodilators and anti-inflammatory drugs to the lungs. Zooming in a little bit, bronchodilators open
up the airways, allowing more air to flow into the lungs, and anti-inflammatory drugs
reduce inflammation and swelling in the lungs. The first major class of inhalers is a metered
dose inhaler. Metered dose inhalers have a metal canister
with an actuator, otherwise known as a plastic covering, as well as a mouthpiece. They’re often used with a valved holding
chamber or a spacer. Now, when you’re using a metered dose inhaler
for the first time, you should first prime it by removing the cap and shaking it for
5 to 10 seconds. Then aim the mouthpiece at the floor, and
press the top of the canister to puff out the medication. You may need to re-shake the inhaler and dispense
the medication a few more times, depending on the medication. Now when you’re ready to use the inhaler
start by shaking it for 5 to 10 seconds. If you’re using a spacer, you can insert
the mouthpiece of the inhaler into the spacer. Then exhale fully and place your mouth around
the mouthpiece of the inhaler or spacer. Be sure to part your teeth and tuck your tongue
out of the way to clear a path for unobstructed airflow, and aim the inhaler at the back of
your throat. Inhale and then press the top of the canister
as you take a deep, slow breath through your mouth for 3 to 5 seconds. Next, hold your breath as long as you comfortably
can, up to 10 seconds, then remove the inhaler and exhale. If you need a second puff of medication, or
have been instructed to take a second puff of medication, you should wait about 30 seconds,
then repeat the process. After you’re done, if the medication is
a type of steroid, rinse your mouth with water. Swish, gargle, and spit—don’t swallow
the water. This prevents any excess medication from remaining
on the inside of your mouth. Another type of inhaler is a dry powder inhaler. And there are several types, so they can look
and work a bit differently from each other. But generally, though, you’ll start by uncapping,
twisting, or sliding open the inhaler. You might have to load a capsule that has
your medication, then press a button to pierce the capsule and release the medication inside
the inhaler. Or you might have to click a lever to prepare
the dose. Just make sure that you don’t shake the
inhaler with the cap off. To actually dispense the medication, hold
the inhaler in front of your mouth, either upright or flat and level, depending on the
medication. Turn your head away from the inhaler and breathe
out completely. Then seal your lips around the mouthpiece,
aim the inhaler toward the back of your throat—clearing a path for unobstructed airflow—and take
a breath as you dispense the medication. It’s important that this breath be quick,
but deep and forceful, to make sure the medication gets into your lungs. Hold that breath for as long as you comfortably
can, up to 10 seconds, before removing the inhaler and exhaling slowly. Repeat these steps if you need another dose. After you’re done, again if the medication
is a type of steroid, you’ll want to rinse your mouth with water, gargle, then spit the
water out. Also, be sure to store the inhaler in a cool,
dry, non-humid place to prevent the dry powder medication from clumping. A third type of inhaler is a soft mist inhaler,
which has a cartridge inside an outer shell that is equipped with a mouthpiece. The soft mist inhaler must be assembled before
you use it the first time. Start by separating the clear base from the
rest of the inhaler by pressing the button located between these two parts. Then, insert the cartridge, narrow-side first,
into the inhaler and press down on a firm surface until you hear a click, which means
the two pieces are connected. Now, reconnect the clear base. Next, it’s time to prime the inhaler. To do this, hold the inhaler upright with
the cap closed and turn the base to the right–in the direction of the arrow–until it clicks. Open the cap, point the mouthpiece toward
the floor, then press the dose-release button to release the medication. Close the cap and repeat these steps until
you see a fine mist. Once you see the mist, repeat these steps
three more times. Depending on the medication, you may need
prime the inhaler whenever there are several days between uses. Once you’re ready to use the inhaler, close
the cap, turn the base again, and open the cap. Breathe out completely, then close your lips
around the mouthpiece, making sure neither your fingers nor your lips cover the vents
on the outside of the mouthpiece. Aim the inhaler toward the back of your throat
and clear a path for unobstructed airflow. Then start taking a slow, deep breath and
press the dose-release button while you inhale for 3 to 4 seconds. Again hold that breath for up to 10 seconds—or
as long as you are comfortable—before removing the inhaler and exhaling slowly. Repeat these steps to take as many doses as
instructed. Now, It’s important to make sure that inhaler
is appropriate for you. For example, if you’re an older adult, you
might prefer an inhaler that’s easier to grip and has large markings that are easier
to see. Or, if you’re not able to inhale quickly
and forcefully, you might avoid dry powder inhalers. Alright, as a quick recap: the three main
classes of inhalers are metered dose, dry powder, and fine mist. Consistent, proper inhaler technique is critical
to making sure that your medication is delivered to your lungs. It’s important to select an inhaler that’s
appropriate for you and to follow instructions carefully. Like any new habit, proper technique also
gets reinforced as you do it over and over.

24 thoughts on “Using an Inhaler

  1. I don't know if it was the step by step instructions, whether I forgot the dr's instructions and was doing it wrong this whole time, or tanner's soothing narration easing my anxiety, but my lungs never felt so good 😀 I'd love more videos like this, useful from both a patient and premed perspective.

  2. TIP: Get a long 15 meter vacuum hose, put the vacuum cleaner outside, run the hose inside the house and suck all the dust outside. Why? All the fine particulates the vacuum filter cannot filter will be ejected outside, not back into your house and lungs. Cost approx £35. you cant get more clean than that !!

  3. Unfortunately, my insurance would only pay for only the powdered version of the steroid inhaler, which is difficult for me to use. I got frustrated and barely take my inhaler even though it’s not advised.

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