Pill Identifier App

How To Use A Metered-dose Inhaler

What is 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 do I use an 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. Your caregiver may tell you 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.

How do I care for my inhaler?

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 by your caregiver.

When should I contact my caregiver?

  • 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 caregiver says you need.

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

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

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

When should I seek immediate care or call 911?

  • 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.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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