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How To Use Inhalers - Simplified Guide For Asthma Patients

Updated on August 24, 2012

Precautions for Asthma Patients

Most of the medicines of asthma are provided through inhalation. These medicines enter into our lungs as aerosols. There are many benefits of giving medicines in this manner.

The medicines reach to the correct position with the help of them and the patient gets relief within minutes. As these medicines do not get into the blood circulatory system we can avoid the danger of any side effects. Another main benefit of these medicines is that it can be used without others help.

Inhalers are the devices that help to take the medicines directly into the lungs. There are mainly three types of inhalers namely metered dose inhaler (MDI), dry powder inhaler andnebuliser.

Things to be Noted While Using an Inhaler

Metered dose inhalers are medicines in the liquid form preserved inside an air tight metal container at high pressure. When this is used the medicine comes out very fast in the form of a spray that helps to directly get in to the lungs. The most important thing is the matching of the process of inhalation and the pressing activation of the container that contains the medicine (Canister).

While using the inhaler the patient must be completely in a resting stage. Never use it in a rush. Canister must be used by turning it backward. While using it, breathe in and out only through the mouth. Don’t breathe through nose. But if necessary do it only two times with a gap of at least one minute between them. Since the medicine is stored at a high pressure never try to make a hole in it or keep it near fire.

The Advantage of Spacer

Usually the use of inhalers is found to bring about difficulties in both children and adults. To overcome this problem now spacers are available in market. While using it there is no need of the matching of inhalation and canister activation. The patient can pump the medicine into the spacer and use it after a few seconds. The valve at the mouth piece of the spacer is opened only at the time of inhalation. Hence the medicine is stored without wastage in the spacer.

The medicine has to be inhaled two to three times at a gap of one minute. Wash the mouth thoroughly after the usage of spacer. The spacer should also be washed and dried well.

Dry Powder Inhalers

While using dry powder inhalers (DPI), the medicine in the form of powder is inhaled and directly taken into the lungs. A benefit of using it is that there is no need of the matching of inhalation and activation. It is a great relief for even those who are not experts in the usage of inhalers. But the medicine will get inside only if breathed powerfully. So the usage of this device is not very easy for children.


Nebuliser is an electric device that is commonly used in clinics and hospitals. It allows the air to pass through a liquid that contains medicine. So the patient inhales the vapour that contains the medicine through a mask. Usually nebulisers are used when there is asthma along with cough or when there is a great breathing problem.

The patient can breathe through this mask by either sitting or lying down. There is no need of any extra care while using it. Medicine gets in when breathed in a usual manner. It is very useful for children and old people. Since there is a large amount of water vapour in the air taken, it helps in lessening the intensity of phlegm.

Now it is available at a rate of Rs 2000-3000. Portable nebulisers that can be used at home is also available. They are very useful to prevent asthma attack during night time.

Ways to Avoid Side Effects

Asthma is considered to be an illness that remains for a long period (Chronic illness). There are more chances for side effects as medicines are taken for a long period. Medicines that give quick relief like salbutamol causes many problems like shivering of hands, increasing the rate of heart beat, chest pain etc. The use of steroids (Beclomethasone, Budenoside, Fluticasone) causes hardening of sound and cough.

These problems can be avoided up to a certain limit if care is given to the following matters. Wash your mouth well after using the medicine each time and use of spacers in metered dose inhalers.

It is better to consult a doctor for those patents who suffer from over weigh of body, problems or difficulties with eyesight, over tiredness etc by the usage of steroids.


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