Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Bronchiectasis Inhaler Use

People with bronchiectasis and wheezing should know how to use a bronchodilator inhaler:

  • Remove the cap from the inhaler.
  • Hold the inhaler with the mouthpiece at the bottom.
  • Shake the inhaler. This mixes the medication properly.
  • Hold the mouthpiece 1-1/2 - 2 inches (2 - 3 finger widths) in front of your mouth. This improves medication delivery by slowing mist delivery and only allowing small particles to be inhaled. Note that your mouth should not be actually touching the mouthpiece.
  • Tilt your head back slightly and open your mouth wide.
  • Gently exhale.
  • Press the inhaler and at the same time begin a slow, deep breath.
  • Continue to breathe in slowly and deeply over 3 - 5 seconds. Breathing slowly delivers the medication deeply into the airways.
  • Hold your breath for up to ten seconds. This allows the medication time to deposit in the airways.
  • Resume normal breathing.
  • Repeat steps 3 - 10 when more than one puff is prescribed.

Additional tips:
  • Keep your inhaler with you at all times, and use it at the first sign of coughing, chest tightness or wheezing.
  • Use an inhaler and spacer as directed.
  • Use your inhaler every 20 minutes for 1 hour during an attack. Continue the medication every 4 hours for 24 to 48 hours.

Continue to Bronchiectasis Peak Flow Testing

Last Updated: Oct 19, 2007 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Bronchiectasis References
  1. Barker AF: Bronchiectasis. Semin Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 1995 Apr; 7(2): 112-8. [7612755]
  2. Franco F, Sheikh A, Greenstone M: Short acting beta-2 agonists for bronchiectasis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2003; CD003572. [12917973]
  3. ten Hacken N, Kerstjens H, Postma D. Bronchiectasis. Clin Evid. 2004 Jun;(11):1998-2002. [15652093]
  4. Tsang KW, Tan KC, Ho PL, et al: Inhaled fluticasone in bronchiectasis: a 12 month study. Thorax 2005 Mar; 60(3): 239-43. [15741443]
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