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Canadian Med Center

9 Common Asthma Inhaler Mistakes

Wednesday 26 December 2018
3 minute(s) read
By Anonymous

Table of Contents

I. Not exhaling first 

II. Improper priming 

III. Not holding your breath after inhaling

IV. Poor posture

V. Holding your head at an angle 

VI. Not closing mouth around the inhaler

VII. Improper spacer usage

VIII. Tongue-blocking inhaler opening

IX. Using an empty inhaler

X. Save on asthma inhalers

Asthma is a frustrating condition that can feel like it’s taking over your life. For most people, medication like Advair helps keep the disease in check, but common asthma inhaler mistakes could be standing in the way of ideal asthma control. If you’re due for a refresher on your metered dose inhaler (MDI), see if you can spot yourself in one of these 9 common asthma inhaler mistakes.

1. Not exhaling first

Before inhaling asthma medication, you should fully exhale. This easy first step will help you inhale more deeply, but it’s often forgotten. If you don’t exhale first, you might not get your full dose of medication.

2. Improper priming

Most MDIs should be shaken before each puff to ensure medication and propellant are properly mixed. Without this step, you may not get the correct dosage in each puff.

New inhalers also need to be primed with test sprays before their first use. The exact number of sprays depends on your specific medication, and should be included in the instructions. If you haven’t used an inhaler for a few days (or longer depending on the type of medication), you should prime with another one or two test sprays to ensure you receive the correct dose.

3. Not holding your breath after inhaling

Once you inhale asthma medication, hold your breath for up to 10 seconds. This keeps your airways still and gives the drugs time to be absorbed. If you breathe out immediately afterwards, some of the medication will be lost as you exhale.

4. Poor posture

Good posture does more than help you look your best. Slouching can compress the lungs, making it more difficult to fully inhale. Before you use your inhaler, ensure you’re standing or sitting up straight with your shoulders held back. [1]

5. Holding your head at an angle

While you’re sitting or standing up straight, you’ll also need to hold your head straight to create the most direct path to your airways.

6. Not closing mouth around the inhaler

Loosely closing your lips over the inhaler or leaving your mouth partially open will allow air (and medication) to escape, meaning you’re getting less than the intended dosage.

7. Improper spacer usage

Spacer devices make metered dose inhalers easier to use and reduce side effects like thrush, but it’s important to use them properly. For multiple-puff doses, spray one puff at a time into the spacer, inhale, hold your breath, and then repeat as needed.

8. Tongue-blocking inhaler opening

If your tongue or teeth block the inhaler’s opening, most of the medication will end up in your mouth instead of farther down the respiratory tract.

9. Using an empty inhaler

Most metered dose inhalers come with a counter that lets you know when the inhaler is used up. Many asthmatics continue using their inhalers past this point, until there’s no more material left in the canister. This might seem like a good way to save money and stretch the life of an inhaler, but you’ll be inhaling more propellant and less medication. [2] 


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Save on asthma inhalers

Besides improper technique, the cost of asthma medication prevents many people from keeping their disease well controlled. At, popular drugs like Advair are available at discounts of up to 80% compared to your local pharmacy. Click here to search for your prescribed drugs and start controlling your asthma for less. 

DISCLAIMER: The content in this article is intended for informational purposes only. This website does not provide medical advice. In all circumstances, you should always seek the advice of your physician and/or other qualified health professionals(s) for drug, medical condition, or treatment advice. The content provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.