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What’s the Right Way to Use an Inhaler?

Many older adults with asthma use rescue inhalers to stop asthma attacks. Because asthma attacks can be dangerous, it’s important that the senior takes the inhaler with them wherever they go. As important as inhalers are, people with asthma often don’t know how to use them properly. Understanding more about inhalers and how they work can help you to ensure your aging relative is using theirs properly.


General Information About Inhalers

Home Care Havana, FL: Seniors and Inhaler Use

An asthma attack causes airways to narrow, making it hard to breathe. During an asthma attack, your older family member may also wheeze and cough. A rescue inhaler is designed to deliver medicine to the airways to relieve the swelling and other symptoms.

The most common kind of inhaler is a beta-agonist bronchodilator. They provide quick relief of symptoms. They relax smooth muscles in the lungs so that the airways open wider and allow more oxygen in.

Although it seems like using an inhaler should be easy, it requires a coordinated set of movements. In an article posted on WebMD, one doctor is quoted as saying that 1 out of 4 of his patients don’t use their inhalers correctly. Some of the errors people make are to not breathe in as when they squeeze the inhaler, causing them to get an incomplete dose, or they breathe in through their nose, so the medication doesn’t get from the mouth to the lungs.


How to Use an Inhaler
To use an inhaler correctly, the National Institutes of Health recommends following these steps:
1. Vigorously shake the inhaler with the cap on.
2. Take the cap off and check the mouthpiece to make sure there is nothing in it.
3. Breathe out, pushing as much air out of your lungs as you can.
4. Hold the inhaler so that the mouthpiece is on the bottom. Place lips around the mouthpiece, forming a tight seal.
5. Start breathing in while pressing the inhaler down just one time.
6. Continue breathing in as deep as possible.
7. Hold breath for a count of 10, then breathe slowly out through the mouth.
8. Rinse the mouth with water and then spit. This step reduces the chances of having side effects.


Depending on the kind of inhaler the senior uses, they may be able to take a second dose immediately if needed or they may have to wait a while. Also, if it has been a while since they have used their inhaler, it may need to be primed. If you’re uncertain about either of these things, talk to the doctor or pharmacist.


Home care can assist your aging relative during asthma attacks, helping them to stay calm and use their inhaler correctly. Home care providers can also monitor them during the attack to make sure the symptoms are relieved. If the asthma attack does not stop, a home care provider can call 911 for emergency assistance.


If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Care in Havana, FL,please call the caring staff at Hopewell In-Home Senior Care today at 850-386-5552.Providing Senior Care Services in North Florida.




Jami D. Eddy

Jami Eddy is the Administrator and an owner of Hopewell In-Home Senior Care. She graduated from Florida State University in 2005 with a major in criminology and a minor in psychology. Jami has been with Hopewell for more than 10 years and is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the business.