Using Your Metered-Dose Inhaler

Without a spacer or valved-holding chamber or open mouth technique

  1. Make sure the inhaler is free of foreign objects. Shake the inhaler for 10 seconds to mix the medicine. Remove the cap from the mouthpiece.
  2. Stand up, take a deep breath in and breathe out as much as you can.
  3. Open your mouth with the inhaler 1 to 2 inches away. Hold the inhaler between your index finger and thumb.
  4. With your mouth open, take a slow, deep breath (for about 5 seconds) in through your mouth while, at the same time, firmly pressing down on the canister to release the medicine. If you breathe in too quickly, the medicine may hit the back of your throat and will not reach deep into your lungs.
  5. Hold your breath for 5 to 10 seconds – as long as you comfortably can, with your mouth closed.
  6. Breathe out slowly through your mouth. If you breathe out too quickly, the medicine will not settle into your lungs.
  7. Wait one minute before taking a second puff, if so directed. Repeat steps 1 through 6 if taking a second puff.
  8. Rinse your mouth out with water.

Additional Inhaler Tips:

  • Ask your doctor if a spacer is right for you.
  • Always have your quick-relief medicine with you in case you experience sudden symptoms.
  • Shake well before each use.
  • Follow the priming and cleaning instructions that come with your inhaler.
  • Always use your inhaler as directed by your doctor. If you feel like you need it more often, talk to your doctor.
  • Always keep the protective cap on the inhaler when not in use. Store your inhaler in a clean plastic bag while carrying it in your pocket or purse.
  • Store your inhaler in a cool, dry place. Never store it in a car. At high temperatures, the medicine in your inhaler will lose its effectiveness.

Using Your Metered-Dose Inhaler

With a spacer or valved-holding chamber

  1. Make sure the inhaler and spacer is free of foreign objects. Shake the inhaler for 10 seconds to mix the medicine. Remove the cap from the mouthpiece.
  2. Place the inhaler mouthpiece onto the end of the spacer. Hold the inhaler between your index finger and thumb. Stand up, take a deep breath in, and breathe out as much as you can.
  3. Put the end of the spacer into your mouth, between your teeth and above your tongue. Close your lips around the spacer.
  4. Press down on the inhaler to release the spray, and begin to breathe in through your mouth. Breathe in deeply and slowly (for about 5 seconds) to pull the medicine deep into your lungs. If you breathe in too quickly, the spacer may make a whistling sound.
  5. Hold your breath for 5 to 10 seconds—as long as you comfortably can, with your mouth closed.
  6. Breathe out slowly through your mouth. If you breathe out too quickly, the medicine will not settle into your lungs.
  7. Wait 1 minute before taking a second puff, if so directed. Repeat steps 1 through 6 if taking a second puff.
  8. Rinse your mouth out with water and spit.

Additional Inhaler Tips:

  • Always have your quick-relief medicine with you in case you experience sudden symptoms.
  • Shake well before each use.
  • Follow priming and cleaning instructions found in the inhaler box insert.
  • Use as directed by your doctor. If you feel like you need it more often, talk to your doctor.
  • Always keep the protective cap on the inhaler when not in use. Store your inhaler in a clean plastic bag while carrying it in your pocket or purse.
  • Store your inhaler in a cool, dry place. Never store it in a car. At high temperatures, the medicine in your inhaler will be to lose its effectiveness.

Source: National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
Source: American Lung Association