It is important to follow your doctor’s instructions about how to use your Salbutamol inhaler.
When should I use my inhaler?
The way you should use your inhaler will depend on how and when you have asthmatic symptoms. It is different for everyone, your doctor will help you to understand when you should use yours.
You should use your inhaler straight away if you start having asthmatic symptoms like wheezing, difficulty breathing, coughing and chest tightness.
Some people use their inhaler if they know they are about to be exposed to their asthma triggers like seasonal pollen, dust or animal hairs. You can also prevent asthma symptoms by using your Salbutamol inhaler before a sport activity, if you have been diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma.
If you need to use your inhaler to prevent symptoms when exposed to triggers like exercise or pollen, use the inhaler about 10 to 15 minutes before the exposure.
How to use your inhaler
Usually, adults take 1 or 2 puffs of Salbutamol at a time to relieve asthma symptoms, up to a maximum of 4 times in 24 hours. If you require more than this dose to relieve your symptoms, speak to your doctor for advice as soon as possible.
You should take the following steps when using your Salbutamol inhaler:
- Stand or sit upright.
- Remove the mouthpiece cover and make sure it is clean before using it.
- Shake the inhaler several times to make sure the liquid is mixed, so you get the right amount of salbutamol with each puff.
- Hold the inhaler upright. Your thumb should be at the base of the inhaler, just below the mouthpiece.
- Breathe out first, then close your lips around the mouthpiece of the inhaler, making a tight seal with your lips. The mouthpiece should rest between your teeth, but do not bite the mouthpiece.
- Start breathing in and press down on the top of the inhaler.
- Continue to take a slow and deep breath in as the inhaler releases a puff of medicine, then hold your breath for as long as you can comfortably do so, to allow the medication to get into your airways.
- If you have been advised to take two puffs, wait about 30 seconds before repeating the process, to take the second puff.
If you have difficulty with this process, your doctor can give you a ‘spacer’, which is a device that can help you inhale the medication more easily. In fact, a spacer can be useful for everyone as it helps you to inhale the whole dose properly.
Always replace the mouthpiece cover straight after using your inhaler.
If you are using your inhaler for the first time or have not used your inhaler for more than 5 days, you should check it is working first before using it. You can test your inhaler by taking the following steps:
- Remove the mouthpiece cover and make sure it is clean before using it
- Shake the inhaler well
- Point the inhaler away from you
- Press the canister to release 1 to 2 puffs into the air
You should see a puff of medicine coming out. If nothing is released, your canister may be empty and will need replacing
How quickly does Salbutamol work?
As long as you use your inhaler correctly, it can start to relieve your symptoms within minutes, sometimes lasting up to 3 to 5 hours.
How to maintain your inhaler
Cleaning your inhaler regularly will prevent blockages when you need to use it. You should clean your inhaler on a weekly basis by taking the following steps:
- Take the metal canister from the casing and take the mouthpiece off
- Hold the casing under the tap and run warm water through it
- Make sure the casing is completely dry before putting the metal canister and mouthpiece on again
- Shake the inhaler and spray it into the air once to make sure it works
How often can you take Salbutamol?
To relieve or prevent asthma symptoms, adults usually take 1 or 2 puffs of Salbutamol every 4 to 6 hours. Some people may find that taking 1 puff every 4 to 6 hours is enough to relieve their symptoms.
In general, you can take 2 puffs up to 4 times in a 24 hour period. If you need to take more than this dose, seek urgent medical advice as your asthma is not being controlled by the salbutamol and you could have a severe asthma attack.
How many puffs of Salbutamol is safe?
If you are taking your inhaler more than 4 times in 24 hours, you must call a doctor or visit A&E straight away, as you could have a severe asthma attack.
However, if you are having an acute asthma attack, you can take up to 10 puffs (waiting 30 seconds between each puff). You can repeat this dose 10 minutes later. If you are having an asthma attack, seek emergency medical attention straight away.
How long does a Salbutamol inhaler last?
Each Salbutamol inhaler contains 200 puffs worth of medicine. If you are taking the maximum dose, which is 8 puffs a day, your Salbutamol inhaler should last 25 days. If you are taking it less, it will last longer. You should check the expiry date on the canister.
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