Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Cystic Fibrosis Using an Inhaler

An important part of the successful management of cystic fibrosis is learning how to properly use an inhaler.

How to Use and 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 Cystic Fibrosis Warning Signs

Last Updated: Dec 9, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Cystic Fibrosis References
  1. Aswani N, Taylor CJ, McGaw J, Pickering M, Rigby AS. Pubertal growth and development in cystic fibrosis: a retrospective review. Acta Paediatr. 2003 Sep;92(9):1029-32. [14599064]
  2. Long JM, Fauset-Jones J, Dixon MJ, Worthington-Riley D, Sharma V, Patel L, David TJ. Annual review hospital visits for patients with cystic fibrosis. J R Soc Med. 2001;94 Suppl 40:12-6. [11601158]
  3. Prescott WA Jr, Johnson CE. Antiinflammatory therapies for cystic fibrosis: past, present, and future. Pharmacotherapy. 2005 Apr;25(4):555-73. [15977917]
  4. Schoni MH, Casaulta-Aebischer C. Nutrition and lung function in cystic fibrosis patients: review. Clin Nutr. 2000 Apr;19(2):79-85. [10867724]
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