Inhalers can be a lifesaver for those diagnosed with asthma. Using these prescription inhalation aerosols correctly is a must to get the most benefits and to avoid uncomfortable side effects. In fact, improper use can be dangerous, since it means the medication isn't being delivered effectively when it is needed. The following tips can help you master the proper techniques while avoiding some common pitfalls.
Tip #1:Posture Matters
Poor posture means the medication doesn't have a clear and unobstructed journey into your lungs where it is needed most. Before using the inhaler, straighten your back and neck. Bring your chin forward and slightly up so everything is aligned for a straight journey into your lungs. Slumping forward or tilting your head down bends the esophagus, which means the medication can't move straight into your lungs.
Tip #2: Prime the Inhaler
Nearly all inhalers need to be shaken before use to ensure the medications and inhalants haven't separated. If you haven't used the inhaler for several days, squirt two puffs into the air to ensure it isn't clogged and that everything is working as it's supposed to.
Tip #3: Know Your Inhalation Technique
Although inhalers work with a single quick puff, it takes more time to use them correctly than to just push the button. Begin inhaling as you press the button and continue to inhale until you can't anymore. This ensures the medication is moved as deeply into your lungs as possible. Try and hold your breath for a count of 10 before exhaling, just to ensure you don't exhale the majority of the medication. If you are supposed to take more than one puff, wait a few seconds between puffs so you can resume regular breathing before repeating the entire process.
Tip #4: Keep it Clean
The inhaler body and spacer, if used, needs to be washed at least once a week. Do this by removing the medication canister and washing the plastic parts in warm, soapy water. Rinse and dry completely before replacing the medication. If you are sick or have a cold, wash the inhaler body and spacer daily until you are feeling well again.
Tip #5: Avoid Discomfort
The act of deep inhalation and the medication itself can lead to a sore throat. After using your inhaler, take a sip of water or even gargle the water to help re-moisten the throat and avoid discomfort. The medication is taken into the lungs, so rinsing out your mouth or drinking water won't decrease its effectiveness.
Talk with your doctor to make sure you are using the right technique when it comes to your inhaler. They can help walk you through the process so you can be positive you are getting the greatest benefit from the medication.
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