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  • Writer's pictureShruti GOCHHWAL

Here’s Why You May Not be Using Your Inhaler Correctly

Asthma symptoms are highly treatable and manageable without causing many restrictions on a person’s everyday life. However, effective treatment by the use of inhalers can only be ensured when one has received an adequate dose during each use, and that’s only possible when one uses their inhaler correctly.

Here are some common mistakes people make while using their inhaler along with solutions to these errors:

1) Not Exhaling First

Your lungs have a fixed amount of capacity and it lets your body inhale in air accordingly.

If you already have air in your lungs, you would not be able to inhale as much medicine through your inhaler.

Thus, in order to ensure maximum inhalation, you must first empty out the air in your lungs before inhaling through the inhaler.

What to do: Before you use your inhaler, breathe out as much as you can.

2) Not Inhaling Correctly

Typically, it takes about 20-30 seconds for your inhaler to release your entire dose of medicine after pressing it. Therefore, if your inhalation is not in sync with this release, a lot of the medicine could mouth and not enter the airways and reach the lungs.

Thus, inhaling too late will waste the medicine, and inhaling too early will only fill out the lungs before letting the medicinal air reach it.

What to do: The only way to ensure this mistake is not repeated is to perfect it with practice. However, the best way to solve this problem is to add a spacer to your inhaler. By doing so, it allows you to breathe in the medicinal air when you’re ready.

Use of spacer

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Alt tag : Asthma spacer

Caption: Use of spacer

3) Bad Body and Chin Posture

Remember, your medicine dosage can only reach your lungs through the air. To ensure maximum inhalation, your posture must be good. This is because your lungs cannot take in as much as when one is slouching or hunching down.

Moreover, the angle of your chin also controls how much air can reach your lungs.

What to do: Stand up or sit up straight before while inhaling and lift your chin slightly up.

4) Not Holding Your Breath After Inhaling

When air reaches your lungs, it takes time for the gases to exchange in and out of the alveoli sacs in the lungs. Thus, to ensure that the medicine has reached and been properly diffused, one must not exhale out air immediately after inhaling the medicinal air. Otherwise, the medicine won’t have much time to perform its effects and won’t improve symptoms.

What to do: Hold your breath for half a minute after inhalation.

5) Rushing Between Puffs

When one puff is taken, it usually requires shaking and a few seconds for the medicine mixture and the propellant to mix again. If one rushes the puffs, the dosage will not have enough time to mix and get propelled into the lungs.

Moreover, your lungs also require some time to absorb one dosage of the medicine, and rushing it will not enable its full effects.

What to do: Maintain a 60-80 seconds time difference between two puffs.

: Shake inhaler before use.

Credit: Flickr

Alt tag : asthma inhaler

Caption: Shake inhaler before use.

6) Forgetting to Shake the Inhaler Before Use

Shaking the inhaler before usage is important to ensure proper diffusion, mixture, and concentration of the medicine with the propellant so that the right amount of dosage reaches the lungs. Otherwise, too much or too little dosage will cause undesirable effects.

What to do: Shake the canister for about 10 seconds before using it.

7)   Improper Aim

To ensure that the medicine enters the airways and into the lungs, one must properly aim the inhaler in their mouth.

This is because the medicine can get stuck on the roof of your mouth, teeth, or below your tongue.

What to do: Aim the medicine back at the throat.

8) Loose Mouth Around the Inhaler

Quite often, a considerable amount of medicinal doses in your inhaler goes to waste.

This is because the dose escapes out through the air when your mouth or lips are not tightly sealed around the inhaler. As a result, you will not get an adequate amount of medicine required or prescribed, which may affect your symptoms.

What to do: Before inhaling, make sure your lips are tightly sealed around the opening of the inhaler.

: Seal lips before inhalation

Credit: wikipedia

Alt tag : Asthma inhaler

Caption: Seal lips before inhalation

9) Improper Cleaning of the Inhaler

People usually store their inhaler in their handbags, pockets, or shelves which are prone to dust, lint, and other particles that may block the opening of the inhaler.

As a result, the person may wind up shooting up these particles into the lung which could be harmful in the long run.

What to do: Observe the inhaler before taking a puff and try to ensure that the inhalers are stored in particle-free places. Insert the cap on the mouthpiece after using it.

10) Not Priming Your Inhalers

In order to ensure the proper diffusion of the medicine mixture with the propellant and prevent further overly concentrated or diluted medicine to be propelled out while inhaling, the inhaler should always be “primed” when it is being newly used.

Priming essentially means spraying the inhaler into the air.

What to do: Whenever you buy a new inhaler, going to use a spare inhaler that has not been utilized in a long time or even drop your inhaler, prime it a couple of times, say 2-3 times.

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