How to Use an Inhaler

Metered-Dose Inhaler (MDI)

  1. Take the cap off

  2. Blow air all the way out of your lungs

  3. Hold the inhaler a few inches in front of your mouth, at the opening of your mouth if you are using a spacer, or in your mouth, depending on the instructions from your physician

  4. Slowly breathe in (inhale) and squeeze down on the canister (if you are using a holding chamber, press down on the chamber and then inhale slowly)

  5. Continue to breathe in (inhale) slowly

  6. At the end of inspiration attempt to hold your breath to the count of one to ten if possible

  7. Wait about 15 to 30 seconds before the next inhalation if you are using a short-acting beta agonist (This is not necessary if you are inhaling a medication other than a short-acting beta agonist)

Note: During the above procedure, coughing may occur and not allow for a complete slow inhalation and the inhalation will be cut off abruptly. This is not a problem as whatever material has been inhaled and absorbed will usually help improve the severity of asthma.

If the coughing problem persists and the severity of asthma does not improve, another form of treatment must be added or used separately.


This How to Use an Inhaler presentation is modeled in part after the following:

National Asthma Education and Prevention Program
Expert panel Report 3:
Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma
Full Report 2007

U. S. Department of Health and Human Services
National Institutes of Health
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute

Return to Current Asthma Treatment

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