Taking Aerosol Medications Correctly

A recent article in the Journal of Asthma and Allergy Educators talked about common mistakes made when taking aerosol medications. Unfortunately, each device uses a different technique of inhaling. When used incorrectly, you could receive less than optimum medication delivery. It is all about the particle size when you take breathing treatments. Too large particles will deposit in your throat and never make it to your lungs; too small will stay suspended and be exhaled

Nebulizers –Nebulizers

You should take your treatment with slow, regular breathing through your mouth.Frequently holding your breath at an end of an inspiration ensures the aerosol particles are deposited in your lung. Be especially careful of  keeping the nebulizer clean. Any germs on the equipment may go directly into your lungs.

Dry Powder Inhalers (DPIs) –Dry Powder Inhalers

When using medications such as the Spiriva Handihaler, Advair Diskus or Foradil Aerosolizer, instead of breathing in slowly on the DPI, you should breathe in fast and deep to get the most benefit. Be sure to take the medication in the chamber of a discus before trying to advance

it or it may become clogged. With the Handihaler and Aerosolizer, you should puncture the capsule only once. If done multiple times, you may end with pieces of the capsule in your lungs. You should not breathe into a DPI as the moisture may collect and affect the medication. Remember to rinse your mouth afterwards to avoid any infections.

Valved-Holding Chambers –

With spacers used with your metered dose inhaler (MDI), remember to prime your inhaler according to the manufacturer’s Image of Aero Chamber Flow-Vuinstructions. You should use only one puff of medication at a time. Many people depress the inhaler twice and then take two breaths. If you wait too long before taking the breath after you have activated the inhaler, you will get less medication to your lungs. Breathe in slowly and hold your breath for ten seconds.

Please read the manufacturers cleaning and disinfecting directions on all the devices. It is critical that they be kept clean!