Teaching Inhaler Technique
As always, when explaining something to a patient check their 'starting knowledge' first. If they are already using inhalers, ask them to demonstrate their current technique. Children should use a spacing device; under twos should use a spacer plus a facemask.
- Posture; 'first, sit up straight and tilt your head back slightly'
- Hold the inhaler with your thumb at the base and your index finger on top
- Take the lid off the inhaler and shake it, (press the button and release a puff of inhaler into the air if it hasn't been used for a while)
- Breathe out gently, away from the inhaler
- Place the inhaler between your teeth (but don't bite) and form a seal with your lips
- Start to breathe in, and while breathing press the top of the inhaler down to administer the medication, continue breathing in until your lungs are full.
Hold your breath at the top of your lungs for 10 seconds.
First demonstrate to patient, then ask patient to perform technique in front of you so you can check that it is correct. (differet inhalers for you and patient though!) Look particularly carefully at the integrity of the patient's lip seal.
Remember to advise patients to always wash their mouths after using a steroid-containing inhaler (to reduce risk of oral thrush)