How to use a pMDI inhaler

Expert advice for using a pMDI inhaler

Are you using your pMDI correctly? Get your technique right to manage your symptoms better. We show you how in this short video.

Video: Expert advice for using a pMDI inhaler

Are you using your pMDI correctly? Get your technique right to manage your symptoms better. We show you how in this short video.
Video transcript

0:00 Hello, I’m Omar Usmani. I’m a Consultant Respiratory Physician. I’m going to show you how to use what’s called a Pressurised Metered Dose Inhaler, or pMDI. It’s also sometimes known as a ‘puffer’. Getting your inhaler technique right is very important because it helps you manage symptoms better. It may take a few tries to feel comfortable using your inhaler, but it does get easier with practice. If your doctor or nurse has advised you or your child to use a spacer with your inhaler, watch our other videos on using a spacer. When you first get your inhaler or if you haven’t used it for five days or more, you will need to test it. To do this: Take the cap off. Shake the inhaler well. Pointing the mouthpiece away from you, press the canister to release a puff into the air. How many test sprays you need to do will depend upon your inhaler, so do check the instructions. This means it is now ready for use. Some pMDI inhalers have a dose counter. If yours has one, check it is not empty. Now, hold your inhaler upright and take the cap off. Check that there’s nothing inside the inhaler mouthpiece. Shake the inhaler well. Sit or stand up straight and slightly tilt your chin up, as it helps the medicine reach your lungs. The next steps all happen smoothly in one action. Breathe out gently and slowly away from the inhaler until your lungs feel empty and you feel ready to breathe in. Put your lips around the mouthpiece of the inhaler to make a tight seal. Start to breathe in slowly and steadily and at the same time, press the canister on the inhaler once. Continue to breathe in slowly until your lungs feel full. Take the inhaler out of your mouth and with your lips closed, hold your breath for up to 10 seconds, or for as long as you comfortably can. Then breathe out gently, away from your inhaler. If you’ve been prescribed a second puff, wait 30 seconds to a minute and shake the inhaler again. Then repeat the steps. When you have finished, replace the cap on the inhaler. If you’ve used an inhaler that contains steroids, rinse your mouth with water and spit it out to reduce the chance of side effects. For more tips on using your inhaler, why not watch our other videos.

This video is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you find it hard to use your inhaler, or find breathing problems are interfering with your daily life and sleep, see your GP. If you are having an asthma attack right now or cannot breathe normally and your blue reliever inhaler isn't helping or if you don’t have one, please call 999 for an ambulance. Asthma UK does not endorse nor recommend specific products. See our general disclaimer.

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