To get the most benefit from inhaling your asthma medication, always follow these simple steps:
Shake the inhaler well for 15 seconds.
Remove the cap from mouthpiece.
Make sure the canister is firmly seated in the actuator.
Hold the inhaler upright with your forefinger on top, thumb on the bottom.
Exhale through your mouth.
Close your lips around the mouthpiece (or hold mouthpiece an inch or two in front of your open mouth).
Breathe in slowly and deeply through your mouth while fully depressing the top of the canister.
Continue inhaling and try to hold your breath for 10 seconds.
Before you exhale, take the inhaler out of your mouth and release the top. If your doctor prescribed more than one inhalation, wait about 30 seconds and shake the inhaler before you use it again.
Replace the cap and rinse your mouth with water.
For more information about inhaler devices, ask your pharmacist!
Checking the Contents of the MDI Canister Inhaled medications come in metal canisters. It is important to keep track of how much is left in the canister so that you will not unexpectedly run out of medication.
Shaking the cartridge will NOT give you an accurate estimate of how much medication is left. A simple method is show at right.
Float the cartridge in enough cold water to cover it. Note what position it takes. When your canister is in the 1/4 full position, refill your prescription or see your primary care provider.
Helpful Hints for Intranasal Anti-Inflammatory Use
Try not to sneeze or blow your nose for 5 to 10 minutes or longer after using an intranasal inhaler.
It may take up to two weeks before you feel the full effect of the medicine, even though you may feel better with some agents within 12 to 24 hours.
Wash the medicine canister device after each use to reduce the chance of contamination and fungal overgrowth.
Make sure nasal passages are open enough to allow air passage before attempting to take a dose.
Aim the device to deliver a dose straight up the nasal passage. You may need to tilt your head slightly forward or hold it upright, depending on the type of device being used.
The development of nosebleeds or stinging with use should be discussed with the pharmacist or prescriber. Use of a saline nose spray or temporarily stopping therapy for a day or two may help.
Anti-inflammatory therapy using corticosteroid spray works to prevent or reduce symptoms, not to reverse them. Regular and consistent use will give best results.