Different types of inhalers are used in the management of lung diseases. In this information sheet, we will describe how to useinhalers correctly. Correct use of inhalers will not only lead to improvement in your lung disease but also cause less side effects or oral thrush or risk of throat infection.
Priming the MDI
If the inhaler is being used first time, shake it for 5 seconds and discharge one dose in the air.
- Shake the puffer held upright
- Remove the cap off the inhaler
- Breathe out away from the inhaler
- Place the mouth/lips around the mouthpiece of the inhaler, ensuring good seal
- Start breathing in as the inhaler/canister is pressed to release one dose
- Breathe slowly in as much as possible, to draw the air and medicine from the spacer
- Breathe in slowly and deeply as much as possible
- Hold the breath in for 5-10 seconds
- You can remove the inhaler from your mouth whilst holding breath
- Breathe out after 5-10 seconds
If more than one inhalation is required, you can repeat the steps from 3-10. It is recommended to rinse, gargle and spit out especially if steroids are present in the puffer.
Clean the spacer’s mouthpiece with a tissue before replacing the cap and storing it away.
When is inhaler empty
Dose counters presents on some inhalers help to determine when your inhaler has finished. If your inhaler does not have a counter, you may notice when you do not get any medicine as you discharge it. One way of remembering is to write the first day when inhaler is used and count the days according to the number of inhalations needed per day
Dr G Sarwar Chaudhry
MBBS (KE), Fellow Royal Australasian College of Physicians (FRACP Australia),
Fellow American College of Chest Physicians (FCCP)
Conjoint Lecturer, University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Consultant Pulmonologist and Sleep Physician
Consultant General Physician www.australianpolyclinic.com