It is estimated that there are 25 million asthmatics in the US. Fewer than half of people who use a metered dose inhaler for asthma do so correctly, according to the Mayo Clinic Health Letter. Here is how to use an inhaler:
- Shake the inhaler several times.
- Attach a spacer. A spacer is a separate chamber that you can attach to the end of the inhaler. Spacers have to be purchased separately from an inhaler. They enhance the effectiveness of inhalers by maximizing the dose of medicine into the lungs, decreasing the amount deposited into the throat. Spacers also cut down on the number of minor throat and mouth infections and irritations.
- Hold the inhaler upright. Held at an angle, the medicine is frequently delivered to the tongue, not the lungs.
- Sit or stand upright and breathe in and out deeply two or three times. Then before you inhale the last time, place the spacer between your teeth and close your mouth tightly around the end.
- Squeeze the inhaler once and slowly begin inhaling for five to seven seconds. After inhaling hold your breath for a few seconds more.
- Rinse your mouth. This is especially important if you use a medicine such as Advair or other corticosteroids. Rinsing your mouth and throat can prevent thrush or other side effects such as hoarseness.