How do I use an inhaler?
Each type of inhaler is used differently and it is important to use your inhalers in the right way. Taking the correct inhaler at the correct time will make sure that your asthma medication is effective. This helps to reduce attacks and to treat them quickly when they do happen. Using your inhaler correctly also reduces the chances of side effects and will help to keep you on the lowest dose possible.
How to use a preventer inhaler
Most people will be prescribed a preventer inhaler to take once or twice a day. Normally you will take one dose of your preventer inhaler in the morning and one in the evening. These regular doses will help to build up protection against asthma in your airways. This should reduce the need for extra medication. Your doctor will advise you of the right dose for you when they prescribe a preventer inhaler.
How to use a reliever inhaler
A reliever inhaler is used to treat symptoms of an asthma attack when they occur. The medication in a reliever inhaler normally lasts for between 4 and 6 hours. You can use a reliever inhaler up to 4 times a day. If you need to use it more often than that, you must contact your doctor for advice straight away.
If you are having an asthma attack, you should take your inhaler as directed by your doctor. However, it should only be used during an asthma attack as it will only treat symptoms as they occur and not the underlying cause of inflammation, so it will not prevent asthma symptoms in the long term. Overusing a reliever inhaler can actually make asthma worse. In addition, if you are needing to use your reliever more than recommended, it is a sign that your asthma is not well controlled, and that you are at risk of a serious attack.
How should I maintain my inhaler?
Keeping your inhaler clean, dust free and at the right temperature is very important. This helps to ensure your inhaler is effective and to stop accidental infections from happening. It is simple to keep your inhaler clean and ready for use.
- Always keep the mouthpiece cover on the inhaler when you are not using it.
- Regularly clean the plastic casing of your inhaler. Remove the metal canister and rinse all parts of the plastic carefully under warm water. Dry the casing thoroughly and replace the canister and mouthpiece cover.
- Always test the inhaler after cleaning by releasing a single dose into the air.
The patient information leaflet that comes with your inhaler will tell you how to store your inhaler correctly. Always follow the instructions in this leaflet. It is important to keep your inhaler in a cool and dry location. Avoid sunny places and wet or damp locations like the bathroom or kitchen.
Extreme temperatures can affect the medication in your inhaler and it is very important to follow the directions in the patient information leaflet relating to temperature range.
How should I dispose of my asthma inhaler?
All used inhalers should be returned to a pharmacy. They cannot be recycled in your domestic recycling or thrown into your household waste. Return empty or out of date inhalers to your nearest local pharmacy.
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