14 Apr 2020

Common Asthma Inhaler Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

Now more than ever, it’s important to be managing your asthma symptoms. Inhaled asthma medicine needs to reach the airways to work. Using the correct inhaler technique is very important.

Common asthma inhaler mistakes and how to avoid them include:

Common MistakeHow to Fix
Sitting DownStanding allows the lungs to fully inhale and provides more power to exhale.
Using an Empty InhalerRequest a refill when the inhaler is half full so you never run out.
Not Shaking or Priming the InhalerShake the inhaler canister 10-15 times for the medication to be ready to work. When using a new inhaler, prime it by releasing 3-4 test sprays. Prime again if not used for several weeks.
Not Using a Spacer with an MDI InhalerA spacer helps deliver the medication to the airways instead of the mouth. Insert the inhaler into the spacer. Spray one puff of medicine and inhale slowly. Hold your breath for a count of 10 and exhale slowly.
Holding the Head too Far Forward or BackwardThe head needs to be in a normal position, not too far back or too far forward to help make a direct path for the medicine to reach the airways.
Tongue or Teeth in the Way of Spacer/Inhaler OpeningPut the spacer/inhaler in the mouth above the tongue, under the top teeth.
Mouth not Tight Enough Around the Spacer/InhalerClose the lips around the spacer so air does not escape.
Directing Spacer/Inhaler at Tongue or Roof of MouthAim the spacer/inhaler at the back of the throat, so the medicine reaches the lungs.
Spraying Several Puffs of Inhaler into SpacerSpray only one puff of the inhaler at a time into the spacer. Breathe out before inhaling. Hold breath for a count of 10, then exhale. Repeat for the number of puffs the doctor prescribed.
Inhaling Medicine too FastInhale slowly. A whistle from the spacer means the inhalation is too fast.

Asthma Ireland have a range of videos that show the correct technique to use for your inhaler. To find out more visit asthma.ie