What are the common mistakes?
1) Breathing in too fast
Problem: by not inhaling slowly, you donít allow the aerosol thatís coming
out of the inhaler to slow down, so less medication gets to the lungs, and
more gets lost on the way. Also, breathing in very quickly means youíll have
less chance of pressing the canister at the right time.
2) Pressing the canister before, or after inhaling
Problem: the aerosol can only get pulled into the lungs when youíre breathing in!
Pressing it too early, or too late, means it will just hit the back of your throat.
If you learn to inhale slowly, it is easier to get the timing 'just right'!
3) Holding the inhaler upside down
Problem: the inhaler needs to be upright to work properly - pressing the canister
does two things - it releases one dose, and also measures out the next one.
Using it upside down prevents it refilling - so the next time you use it,
it will appear empty.
4) Not shaking the inhaler before use
Problem: inside the canister is a mix of propellant, medication, and small
amounts of other liquids that work best when mixed thoroughly. Not shaking
the inhaler before use produces an aerosol that isn't as good as it could be.
5) Pressing the canister twice / taking a second dose immediately
Problem: each time you press the canister, it cools down (it is the warmth of
the canister that evaporates the liquid containing the medication, changing
it into a gas). Unless you wait for the canister to return to room temperature,
the second dose doesnít evaporate as well as the first - so the dose that goes
to your lungs is less.
6) Breathing out straight away
Problem: to get the full dose into your lungs, the tiny particles of drug you've
inhaled need to fall onto the lining of the airways, deep inside the lungs.
When you hold your breath (ideally for a count of 10), you allow gravity to
"pull" them down onto the airways. But people breathing out straight away
allow too little time for this to happen - so you don't get the full benefit
from your treatment.