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How to use an asthma inhaler correctly

Northwest Health offers numerous convenient locations in Tamworth, Werris Creek and Calala. Northwest Health aims to provide comprehensive and thoughtful medical care to families and individuals. We work hard to keep up to date with the latest medical innovations to bring you efficient personal service.


If you have asthma, you may need to use one or more asthma medications to manage the condition. It is important that you use your asthma inhaler correctly to get the full benefit of the medication you are taking.

Most people with asthma, however, do not use the correct technique.

What is an asthma inhaler?

Most asthma medicines are inhaled through the mouth using an inhaler or puffer. There are several types and the device you use will depend on your age, how your lungs work and which device you find easiest to use. A doctor, pharmacist or nurse should show you how to take your asthma medicine.

Some medicines are breathed in directly from the inhaler; others are breathed in through a 'spacer' — you puff the medicine into a container and breathe through a mouthpiece at the other end.

This increases the amount of medicine that reaches the small airways of the lungs.

Most children over 4 can use a small spacer and puffer. Babies and children under 4 may need a face mask.

Metered dose inhalers (puffers)

A puffer, or a metered dose inhaler, is the most common type of inhaler. Using it with a spacer will get more medicine into the lungs.

Tips for correct use

Shake the inhaler before use.

Breathe out fully.

Hold the inhaler in the right position.

Breathe in deeply as you puff the medicine into your mouth, then hold your breath for as long as possible (and for at least 5 seconds).

Make sure you shake the inhaler in between puffs.

More can be found on Healthdirect.gov.au

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