How to Use A Breath-Activated Inhaler
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Oct 31, 2022.
What is a breath-activated inhaler?
A breath-activated inhaler is a handheld device that delivers a dose of medicine as a mist when you inhale. You breathe the medicine deep into your lungs to open your airways.
How do I use a breath-activated inhaler?
- Follow the instructions to put together the inhaler. It may have one or more levers that you pull or push.
- Remove the cap. Check to make sure there are no foreign objects in the mouthpiece or the vents.
- Shake the inhaler to mix the medicine. Breathe out fully. Do not breathe into the inhaler.
- Hold the inhaler upright, with the mouthpiece pointing towards your mouth. Do not cover the vents. Place the mouthpiece between your lips and create a tight seal.
- Breathe in deeply. You will hear a click and feel the mist when the medicine comes out. Do not stop inhaling when you feel the mist.
- Hold your breath for about 5 seconds. Breathe out slowly.
- Rinse your mouth with water or saline. Do not swallow the water or saline.
How do I care for my breath-activated inhaler?
- Put the cap back on the inhaler after each use to keep the mouthpiece clean.
- Clean your inhaler at least 1 time each week as directed by your healthcare provider.
Call your local emergency number (911 in the US), or have someone call if:
- Your lips or nails turn blue or gray.
When should I seek immediate care?
- You cough up blood.
- 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.
When should I call my doctor?
- You feel the medicine spray on your tongue or throat, rather than going into your lungs.
- You run out of medicine before your next refill is due, or sooner than your healthcare provider says you should.
- You feel like your medicine is not controlling your symptoms.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
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