Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Bronchitis Chronic Inhaler Use

Proper inhaler use is an important part of the successful treatment of chronic bronchitis.

The correct way to use an 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 your 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.
  • You may need a long-acting inhaler medicine (Serevent) if frequent attacks occur.

Continue to Bronchitis Chronic Taking Control

Last Updated: Jun 1, 2009 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Bronchitis Chronic References
  1. Brunton S, Carmichael BP, Colgan R, Feeney AS, Fendrick AM, Quintiliani R, Scott G. Acute exacerbation of chronic bronchitis: a primary care consensus guideline. Am J Manag Care. 2004 Oct;10(10):689-96. [1552116]
  2. Martinez FJ, Anzueto A. Appropriate outpatient treatment of acute bacterial exacerbations of chronic bronchitis. Am J Med. 2005 Jul;118(Suppl 7A):39S-44S. [15993676]
  3. Panpanich R, Lerttrakarnnon P, Laopaiboon M. Azithromycin for acute lower respiratory tract infections. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2004 Oct 18;(4):CD001954. [15497172]
  4. Schmier JK, Halpern MT, Higashi MK, Bakst A. The quality of life impact of acute exacerbations of chronic bronchitis (AECB): a literature review. Qual Life Res. 2005 Mar;14(2):329-47. [1589242]
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