Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Allergic Asthma Inhaler Use

The first step in controlling asthma symptoms is learning how to properly use an asthma inhaler.

Directions for the proper use of an inhaler with a spacer:

  • Remove the cap from the inhaler.
  • Hold the inhaler with the mouthpiece at the bottom.
  • Shake the inhaler.
  • Insert the spacer if you have one, and place your mouth around the spacer.
  • Tilt your head back slightly.
  • Gently exhale.
  • Begin a slow, deep breath and activate the inhaler.
  • Continue to inhale slowly and deeply over 3 - 5 seconds.
  • Hold your breath for 5-10 seconds.
  • Repeat steps 3 through 10 if you require more than one puff.

Directions for the proper use of an inhaler without a spacer:
  • Remove the cap from the inhaler.
  • Hold the inhaler with the mouthpiece at the bottom.
  • Shake the inhaler.
  • Hold the mouthpiece 1.5 inches (4 cm) in front of your mouth. Your mouth should not touch the mouthpiece.
  • Tilt your head back slightly and open your mouth widely.
  • Gently exhale.
  • Begin a slow, deep breath and activate the inhaler.
  • Continue to inhale slowly and deeply over 3 - 5 seconds.
  • Hold your breath for 5-10 seconds.
  • Repeat steps 3 through 10 if you require more than one puff.

Tips on using an inhaler:
  • Keep your inhaler with you at all times. Use it at the first sign of wheezing.
  • Learn to use a spacer with the inhaler.
  • Use the inhaler every 20 minutes for the first hour of an attack. Continue the medication every 4 hours until symptoms are gone.

Continue to Allergic Asthma Taking Control

Last Updated: Jun 2, 2009 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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  4. Neidell MJ. Air pollution, health, and socio-economic status: the effect of outdoor air quality on childhood asthma. J Health Econ. 2004 Nov;23(6):1209-36. [15556243]
  5. Rees J. ABC of asthma. Prevalence. BMJ. 2005 Aug 20;331(7514):443-5. [16110074]
  6. Vallance G, Thomson NC. Asthma: ten myths debunked. Practitioner. 2004 Nov;248(1664):844-7. [15543882]
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