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How to take care of inhalers

If you or your client suffer from asthma or even bad hayfever attacks, you may have been prescribed inhalers to use when breathing gets difficult. While you may have been instructed how to use it, it is often overlooked that the inhaler needs to be cleaned to work at its best.

Generally, the inhaler should be cleaned once a week, particularly if it is a steroid inhaler. Inhalers that are not cleaned can cause a fungal infection called thrush.

How to keep the inhaler clean

  • Wash your hands
  • Remove the canister from the plastic mouthpiece and set it aside
  • Remove the cap from the container and run warm water in one end and out the other for around a minute
  • Shake it dry and let it air dry
  • Reassemble the canister and the container and test it to make sure it is working.

To clean spacers

Not everyone needs to use a spacer but if you do, you can clean it using warm water and a small amount of mild dish soap. This should be done every week. The space should be air dried.

How to know when to replace the inhaler

The inhaler only has a certain amount of puffs in it and these will be marked on the outside of the box.

  • Check the number of puffs
  • Divide this by the number of puffs you take each day. This will give you the number of days the inhaler will last
  • Mark this on a calendar or in your diary and make sure you have one ready to use by the time it runs out

Some inhalers have counters on them which will allow you to track the amount you have used.

If your canister has 200 puffs and you need 4 each day, you would divide 200 by 4 and get 50, meaning that you will have enough (if you stick to the dosage) for 50 days.

Final thoughts

While it is good to know exactly how many days your inhaler will last, it is always a good idea to have at least one other inhaler as a backup. You should request this every time you ask for a repeat prescription.

 

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