How to take your inhalers

On this page you can find details on how to take your inhalers to ensure that you get the maximum benefit from the device you have been given.  There is a very large range of inhalers available and we have included only the most common on this page.  For advice on an inhaler that isn't featured here you should contact the doctor or nurse looking after your breathing condition.  If you feel that you would benefit from using a different inhaler you should speak to your doctor or nurse.

A sore mouth is a common side effect of taking regular inhalers or nebulisers.  It can be avoided with a few simple steps and it can prevent a lot of discomfort.

With grateful thanks to Education For Health for the use of images on this page.

  1. Use your Aerochamber if appropriate with your inhalers to prevent the medication depositing on your tongue.
  2. Rinse or gargle your mouth and spit after every inhaler/nebuliser use.
  3. If your sore mouth persists or begins to interfere with eating, contact your GP or the Respiratory Centre staff for advice.

Using an Aerochamber

  1. AerochamberRemove the mouthcap from the inhaler and the aerochamber
  2. Shake the inhaler well and insert into the back of the aerochamber
  3. Place the mouthpiece into your mouth
  4. Press the canister in the inhaler once to release a dose of the drug
  5. Take a slow, deep breath in (if you hear a whistling sound you are breathing in too quickly)
  6. Hold your breath for about ten seconds if you are able and then breathe out through the mouthpiece
  7. Take another slow, deep breath through the aerochamber, this time without pressing the canister in the inhaler
  8. Remove the aerochamber from your mouth and breathe out
  9. Wait a few seconds before repeating steps 2-8 as required for the number of doses you should take as instructed by your nurse

Alternative method if you are particularly short of breath

  1. Remove the mouthcap from the inhaler and the aerochamber
  2. Shake the inhaler well and insert into the back of the aerochamber
  3. Place the mouthpiece into your mouth
  4. Begin to breathe in and out slowly and gently
  5. When breathing is steady and regular press the canister in the inhaler to release a dose of the drug and continue the same pattern of breathing for a further five breaths
  6. Remove the aerochamber from your mouth
  7. Wait a few seconds before repeating steps 2-6 as required for the number of doses you should take as instructed by your nurse

Using a Volumatic

  1. volumaticRemove the cap from the inhaler
  2. Shake the inhaler and insert into the device
  3. Place the mouthpiece in your mouth
  4. Press the canister in the inhaler once to release a dose of the drug
  5. Take a deep, slow breath in
  6. Hold you breath for about 10 seconds, then breathe out through the mouthpiece
  7. Breathe in again through the device without pressing the canister in the inhaler
  8. Remove the device from you mouth
  9. Wait about 30 seconds before repeating steps 2-8 as required for the number of doses you should take as instructed by your nurse

How to use a Turbohaler

  1. TurbohalerUnscrew and lift off the white cover
  2. Holding the Turbohaler upright twist the grip at the bottom first one way and then back until you hear a click
  3. Breathe out gently, put the mouthpiece between your lips and breathe in as deeply as possible (it is usual not to taste anything)
  4. Remove the Turbohaler from your mouth; hold your breath for ten seconds if you are able before breathing out
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 as required to take the correct number of doses as instructed by your nurse

How to use the Handihaler

 

  1. HandihalerOpen the grey cover and then the white mouthpiece by pulling upwards
  2. Remove a capsule from the blister strip and place it into the chamber in the inhaler
  3. Close the mouthpiece firmly until it clicks, leave the grey cover open
  4. Hold the inhaler with the mouthpiece facing upwards and completely push the green button once to pierce the capsule
  5. Breathe out gently, place the mouthpiece between your lips and breathe in as deeply as possible. You should be able to hear the capsule rattle. 
  6. Remove the inhaler from your mouth and hold your breath for ten seconds if you are able before breathing out
  7. Open the mouthpiece and dispose of the used capsule. Close the mouthpiece and the grey cover

How to use a Respimat inhaler

  1. RespimatWith the cap closed, press the safety catch and remove the clear base
  2. Take the cartridge out of the box and insert the narrow end into the inhaler until it clicks into place - you should press the cartridge gently against a firm surface to ensure it is fully inserted
  3. Do not remove the cartridge once it has been inserted
  4. Replace the clear base
  5. Holding the inhaler upright turn the base in the direction of the printed red arrow until it clicks
  6. Open the cap fully
  7. Press the dose release button - Steps 5-7 should be repeated three times to ensure that the inhaler is fully primed for use and only needs to be done the first time a cartridge is inserted
  8. Open the cap fully
  9. Breathe out fully, then place the inhaler in your mouth
  10. Point the inhaler towards the back to your throat
  11. Begin to breathe in slowly and press the dose release button whilst continuing to breathe in slowly for as long as you can
  12. Hold you breath for about 10 seconds
  13. Repeat steps 8-12 as required to take the correct number of doses as instructed by your nurse

How to use an Accuhaler

  1. AccuhalerHold the inhaler in one hand and using the thumb on your free hand push the  thumbgrip down until you hear a click to reveal the mouthpiece
  2. Using the same thumb slide the lever away from the mouthpiece until you hear a click
  3. Breathe out gently then place the mouthpiece between your lips.  Breathe in as deeply as possible and remove the inhaler from your mouth
  4. Hold your breath for ten seconds if you are able
  5. To close the inhaler place your thumb in the thumbgrip and slide upwards so the mouthpiece disappears until you hear a click
  6. Repeat steps 1-5 as required to take the correct number of doses as instructed by your nurse
  7. The inhaler must be fully closed between each dose.  The counter will count down from 60 to 0; the last five numbers are in red

How to use an Autohaler

  1. AutohalerRemove the mouthpiece cover
  2. Shake the inhaler well
  3. Hold the inhaler in one hand and with the other push the level on top of the inhlaer into an upright position until you hear a click
  4. Breathe out gently, place the mouthpiece between you lips taking care not to block the airholes underneath the inhaler
  5. Breathe in as deeply as possible, do not stop if the inhaler 'clicks'
  6. Hold your breath for ten seconds if you are able
  7. Repeat steps 2-6 as required to take the correct number of doses as instructed by your nurse

How to use an Easibreathe inhaler

  1. EasibreatheShake the inhaler well
  2. Pull the mouthpiece cover down
  3. Hold the inhaler upright ensuring that the airholes at the top are not covered.  Breathe out gently, put the mouthpiece between your lips and breathe in as deeply as possible
  4. Hold your breath for ten seconds if you are able before breathing out
  5. Replace the mouthpiece
  6. Repeat steps 1-5 as required to take the correct number of doses as instructed by your nurse, ensuring that the mouthpiece is closed each time between inhalations