Do you know how to use your inhaler properly? If the answer to the question is no, you may be putting yourself at risk of suffering an inhaler overdose.
An inhaler, otherwise known as a puffer, is a device used to deliver inhaled bronchodilators or steroids to patients suffering from Asthma or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). For younger patients, or those with disabilities or aging issues, a nebulizer attachment can be utilized to administer the inhaled medication as a mist, over a longer period of time.
The respiratory inhaler has been designed to be used safely, by the general population. The most common medication administered through an inhaler is a short-acting beta agonist, such as ProAir HFA. These inhaled agents are used to stop an acute, or sudden, onset Asthma attack or COPD exacerbation. Other combination inhaled medications (bronchodilators + steroids), such as Xopenex, are taken on a daily basis and are known to keep acute flair-ups to a minimum.
When used properly, inhalers are extremely safe. In general, 1 - 2 puffs every 4 to 6 hours should provide adequate rescue control of your prescribed bronchodilator.
Over use, either by way of more than 2 puffs or more frequently than every 6 hours can produce a rapid or irregular heartbeat, an elevation of blood pressure, shakiness, nervousness and vomiting. If you are using an inhaler which is delivering a combination or bronchodilators and steroids, it is important that you rinse your mouth thoroughly after each use, to avoid oral thrush.
Inhalers are a safe and effective way to administer bronchodilators and steroids into the respiratory system. When used properly, theydeliver a metered andconsistent dose of medication. If you are unclear of the proper methods with which to administer your inhaled medication, it is important that you take the time to review the basic techniques.