Written by Katelyn Schwanke (last updated September 5, 2008)
Although inhalers are generally thought to be used predominantly by an asthmatic population, those who have severe allergies may also carry epinephrine (a drug that combats severe allergic shock) as a protective measure. If you carry an inhaler, for whatever reason, it is extremely important for you to understand how to use it properly. Many who carry an inhaler because of their doctor's admonition and have never been in a situation that warranted its use may not feel the proper urgency to learn how; a fast acting inhaler can provide a sense of security and be extremely effective in saving your life should a severe respiratory attack occur.
Before discussing how to use an inhaler it's important to understand what the mechanics are behind it. An inhaler, or bronchodilator, carries medication in aerosol form (gas like so it can be easily inhaled) or powder form that is pressurized or coupled with oxygen for easy delivery of medication to the patient. There are two basic types of inhalers prescribed, dry powder inhalers (DPIs) and meter-dosed inhalers (MDIs). Both types of inhalers are used in similar ways but you should always consult your physician for advice specific to you and your medical condition.
Follow these basic steps provided by the Mayo Clinic (an accredited research and practiced based medical establishment):
If you have any more questions regarding how to use an inhaler consult your doctor or a nurse advice you on items specific to you.
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