“Doctor, I have been using the inhaler for 4 months and yet the symptoms of my asthma are worsening. I think I need another medication.”, says Aditya.
His doctor does his examination once again and prescribes him another medicine albeit figuring out the real cause. A few months later, Aditya visits
his doctor once again with the same problem. After many lead questions he yields that his inhaler has not run out in 7 months. Apparently, he has been
using it the wrong way!
Doctors say that not all asthma patients have their inhaler techniques patted down to perfection. 70% of these patients use their inhalers incorrectly,
holding up the maximal benefits of the medications.
Every asthmatic patient needs a hands-on repeated training on the correct use of inhalers. Most often, patients turn a blind eye to the proper technique of
inhaler use which increases the risk of acute asthma flare ups and hospitalization. Moreover, an improper technique increases the risk of side effects
associated with use of inhalers. Therefore, it is very important to have your technique checked and corrected by a health professional.
Evaluate your inhaler technique with the knowledge of these common mistakes and their quick fixes.
- Inappropriate positioning:
Using the inhaler in the recommended position is very important. This allows maximum delivery of the medication and optimal inflation of the lungs. Sit up
straight or stand (do not slouch) and hold your inhaler upright with your index finger on the pressurized canister and your thumb at the bottom of the
inhaler. Place the mouthpiece between your teeth and close the lips tightly.
- Faulty inhalation:
When breathing in the medication, remember to inhale through the mouth, not the nose. Breathe in the medication slowly and breathe out completely before
taking in the next puff.
- Not holding the breathe:
Most inhaler users do not keep in the air even for a few seconds. To ensure that the medicine reaches all parts of your airway, it is important to hold
your breath for 10 seconds between each puff. Inhale and hold your breath for a count of 10, then exhale.
- Not priming the inhaler:
If the contents of the canister are not mixed, too much or too little of a component of medicine will be released. This interferes with the efficacy of
your therapy. Shake the inhaler 10-15 times to prime your inhaler. Release a test spray before you use it.
The correct sequence and pattern of usage is an important determinant of how you will benefit from medical therapy of asthma. Using inhalers can be
tricky, but a correct technique will help you manage your disease better. When in doubt, always ask your doctor.