Correct technique for using Asthma inhalers
15 Aug 2017
What is the correct inhaler technique?
It’s vital to use your inhalers correctly and asthma medications are available in a variety of devices, some can be more difficult to use than others. Unfortunately, some GPs do not have a lot of experience of using these devices either but it is important to demonstrate to your doctor how you’re using it and be sure at least that you’re using it to the best of your knowledge and ability.
If there is an issue with your technique, then you may need to change the device. It is advised that you ask someone to watch you do when using your device because even if you believe you’re doing it the right way, it’s very common to incorrectly use it without knowing. We know that correct inhalers technique is associated with good asthma control.
Why is it important to use the correct inhaler technique?
Asthma inhalers can be very difficult to use correctly and it’s very advised that each occasion you see a doctor, that you show your doctor how you’re using your inhalers. Asthma treatment can be ineffective – not because they don’t use the drug or the puffer but because they use it incorrectly. And if you don’t inhale that puffer into your lungs then your lungs are not going to receive the intended benefit. Usually, it ends up in your mouth or in the air, certainly not where we want it to go which is into your lungs
Get the best from your inhalers
Use these simple tips to make sure you get the best from your inhalers in between your annual asthma reviews. This will help ensure you get the right dose of your medicines to keep your asthma symptoms as well controlled as possible.
1. CHECK YOUR INHALER TECHNIQUE IN BETWEEN ASTHMA REVIEWS
- You can use these videos from Asthma UK to check your technique, and remind yourself of each important step.
- You can pop in to see your local pharmacist anytime (you don't need an appointment) to ask them to check your technique.
2. AVOID ORAL THRUSH AND/OR A SORE THROAT AFTER USING A PREVENTER INHALER THAT CONTAINS STEROIDS
- Make sure you're using the correct inhaler technique
- Brush your teeth, rinse out your mouth or gargle and spit out, after using your preventer inhaler
- Use a spacer with your preventer inhaler
3. STORE YOUR INHALERS CORRECTLY
- You should always keep the inhaler cap on when you're not using it. People who use inhalers have told us that sometimes things have got stuck in the mouthpiece of their inhaler because they've stored it in their handbag or drawer without its cap on. This can be dangerous because there's a risk you might inhale the stuck object when you next use your inhaler.
- Store your inhaler at the correct temperature. Extreme temperatures and/or high altitudes can affect the medicine in your inhaler. Check the label on your inhaler for storage instructions. Don't leave your inhaler where it might get too hot or cold (for example in your car or conservatory). Speak to your GP about how to look after your inhaler if you're planning to go on holiday to a hot or cold country, or if you're going mountain climbing.
4. CLEAN YOUR INHALERS THE RIGHT WAY
Cleaning and properly maintaining your inhaler isn't difficult, but a couple of handy tips can make sure you don't affect how well they work.
Cleaning your 'press and breathe' metered-dose inhaler. Follow the cleaning instructions that come in the box with your MDI. The most important thing to remember is to never wash the metal canister or put it in water - only wash the plastic parts.
- Remove the metal canister from the plastic casing of the inhaler and remove the mouthpiece cover.
- Rinse the plastic casing thoroughly under warm running water.
- Dry the plastic casing thoroughly inside and out.
- Put the metal canister into the plastic casing, test it by releasing a single puff into the air and replace the mouthpiece cover.
Cleaning your dry powder inhaler:
- Wipe the mouthpiece of your dry-powder inhaler with a dry cloth at least once a week.
- Do NOT use water to wipe the dry powder inhaler because the powder is sensitive to moisture.
Watch this NHS video on correct inhaler techniques.
For more information on Asthma and this video about inhalation techniques please visit - http://www.nhs.uk/Video/Pages/Childrensasthmainhaler.aspx