Studies show that many patients are using their inhalers incorrectly, resulting in only 7%-40% of the medication being delivered to the lungs. Improper technique can result in poor asthma control resulting in stronger medications prescribed. Below are the steps for proper technique when using your metered-dose inhaler (i.e. ProAir, Proventil, Ventolin, Flovent …)
- Take off cap. Shake the inhaler. Prime (spray or pump) the inhaler as needed according to manufacturer’s instructions (each brand is different).
- If you use a spacer or valved holding chamber (VHC), remove the cap and look into the mouthpiece to make sure nothing is in it. Place the inhaler in the rubber ring on the end of the spacer/VHC.
- Stand up or sit up straight.
- Take a deep breath in. Tilt head back slightly and blow out completely to empty your lungs.
- Place the mouthpiece of the inhaler or spacer/VHC in your mouth and close your lips around it to form a tight seal.
- As you start to breathe in, press down firmly on the top of the medicine canister to release one “puff” of medicine. Breathe in slowly (gently) and as deeply as you can for 3 to 5 seconds.
- Hold your breath and count to 10.
- Take the inhaler or spacer/VHC out of your mouth. Breathe out slowly.
- If you are supposed to take 2 puffs of medicine per dose, wait 1 minute and repeat steps 3 through 8.
- If using an inhaled corticosteroid, rinse out your mouth with water and spit it out. Rinsing will help to prevent an infection in the mouth.
If you use a different inhaler please click the link below to review proper technique: