If you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic asthma or another chronic lung condition, your treatment plan may include an inhaler prescribed by your doctor. Inhalers are used to deliver medicine directly into the lungs. This medicine helps control inflammation and reduce respiratory symptoms.
The most common type of inhaler is a metered-dose inhaler (MDI), which is a small device comprised of a pressurized container and a mouthpiece. The canister contains medicine that’s released when you press down on it.
Unfortunately, while inhalers look easy to operate, many errors can occur while using one. A 2016 study published in Chest reported that 70 to 90% of study participants with asthma or COPD misused their MDIs, and 74% of patients made at least 3 errors during the process.
Using an inhaler improperly can prevent the full dosage of medicine from reaching your lungs. Here, we’ll discuss some of the most common errors that occur while using MDIs. Remember, it’s important to always follow your doctors instructions for medication dosage.
When it’s time to use your inhaler, sit or stand up straight. Many people slouch, but slouching limits your lungs’ ability to fully inhale and exhale. Hold the canister in an upright position, because if the canister is tilted at an angle, the medicine will hit the roof of your mouth or tongue. Before placing the inhaler up to your mouth, turn your head and breathe out the air from your lungs. You want to ensure there is as much room as possible in the lungs.
During the preparation stage, patients often forget to shake the canister prior to use — shake between 10 to 15 times.
A common error patients make is improperly coordinating breathing during inhaler use. As you press down on the canister to release medicine, breathe in at the same time. If you start inhaling after activating the device, the medication may stick to your throat and not reach the lungs. You should also make sure your lips are sealed tightly around the inhaler so that nothing escapes out of your mouth.
After taking a puff on the inhaler, you need to hold your breath for at least 10 seconds to allow the medicine to fill your lungs. Another mistake patients make is rushing to take the next dose too quickly. If your doctor has prescribed more than 1 puff, then wait at least 1 minute before taking the next dose.
Cellular Therapy Can Be Part of an Effective Treatment Plan
If you use an inhaler as part of your treatment plan, then operating it correctly is critical for its effectiveness. Next time you see your doctor, show him or her how you use your inhaler, and ask if you are performing any of the steps improperly.
Cellular therapy can also be part of an effective treatment plan for chronic lung disease. The treatment uses a patient’s own cells to potentially reduce airway inflammation, prevent further lung damage and slow the progression of the disease. The goal of cellular therapy is to help you Breathe Easier™ and maintain or improve your long-term quality of life.
If you are interested in learning more about cellular therapy or scheduling a free consultation, contact a Lung Health Institute patient coordinator today.