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How To Use A Metered-dose Inhaler


A metered-dose inhaler is a handheld device that delivers a dose of medicine as a mist. You breathe the medicine deep into your lungs to open your airways.


How to Use a Metered-Dose Inhaler

  • Remove the cap. Check to make sure there are no foreign objects in the mouthpiece.

  • Shake the inhaler to mix the medicine. Breathe out fully.

  • Hold the inhaler upright, with the mouthpiece pointing towards your mouth. You may be told to place the mouthpiece between your lips, or to hold it 2 inches away.

  • Press down on the canister while you breathe in slowly.

  • Hold your breath for about 10 seconds, and then breathe out slowly.

  • Repeat if more puffs of medicine are needed.

Care for your inhaler properly:

Put the cap back on the inhaler after each use to keep the mouthpiece clean. Clean the inhaler at least once a week as directed.

Follow up with your primary healthcare provider (PHP) or specialist as directed:

Bring your inhaler to all of your visits. You may be asked to use your inhaler at these visits so your PHP or specialist can make sure you are using it correctly. Write down your questions, so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Contact your PHP or specialist if:

  • You feel the medicine spray on your tongue or throat, rather than going into your lungs.

  • You usually take more puffs from the inhaler than your PHP or specialist says you need.

  • You run out of medicine before your next refill is due, or sooner than your PHP or specialist says you should.

  • You feel like your medicine is not controlling your symptoms.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek immediate care or call 911 if:

  • Your lips or nails turn blue or gray.

  • The skin between your ribs or around your neck pulls in with every breath.

  • You feel short of breath, even after you use your inhaler.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.