|The Asthma Corner
: Asthma medication delivery devices
: Administering metered dose inhaler ("puffer")
This can be used in children who are able to co-ordinate hand
movements with taking a breath in, usually not before 8 years
- Make sure the metal canister is placed firmly into the plastic
- Remove the cap from the mouthpiece.
- Hold inhaler, "tail-up" and shake well.
- Ask your child to breathe out, emptying his/her lungs.
- Your child should hold the mouthpiece about two inches in
front of his/her mouth and open his/her mouth wide.
- At the same time that he/she begins to breathe he/she presses
the metal canister down into the plastic container, releasing
a puff of medication.
- He/she should breathe in slowly and deeply for 5 to 10 seconds.
- Ask your child to hold his/her breath for 10 seconds if
- If 2 puffs are prescribed wait at least 30 seconds between
the first and second puff.
- To determine whether the canister is empty, place it into
a glass of tap water. If it is empty, it will float to the
- If your child takes a bronchodilator and an anti-inflammatory
medication, use the bronchodilator first, followed in 5 minutes
by the administration of the anti-inflammatory medication.
- Since it is difficult for a child to place the puffer correctly
in front of his/her mouth, some inhalers come with a spacer
or synchroner that positions the inhaler at the right distance
from the mouth.
- If your child is used to placing the puffer in his/her mouth,
(lips snug around it, teeth open and tongue down out of the
way) and is getting good results, he/she continue to use it
in the way he/she is accustomed.
- After taking a steroid medication by any kind of inhaler
device your child should rinse his/her mouth with water.
Using inhalers properly is not always easy but can help your child
enjoy successful treatment at home and less frequent trips to
If despite your best efforts with inhaled medications your
child's asthma is not well controlled or worsens, seek medical
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