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How to use a metered dose inhaler

Patient information A-Z

You have been given an inhaler to help with the management of your child’s asthma. There are two main kinds of treatment for asthma: relievers and preventers.

Everyone with asthma should have a reliever inhaler. Relievers are medications taken to relieve asthma symptoms such as cough and wheeze. They relax the muscles in the airways within five to 10 minutes making it easier to breathe. Reliever inhalers are usually blue.

Preventers are used to help control swelling and inflammation in the airways. They take about two to four weeks to build up effectiveness and should then be taken regularly even when your child is feeling well. Preventer inhalers are various colours.

Medications for asthma are usually inhaled as this goes straight to the airways where they are needed.

There are many different devices for taking reliever or preventer inhalers. It is important that your child’s inhaler technique is checked annually.

Further information can be found from asthma UK or phone 0300 222 5800.

Contact: clinical nurse specialist 01223 216585.

  1. Remove the cap.
  2. Shake the inhaler.
  3. Breathe out gently.
  4. Put the mouthpiece in your mouth and ensure lips are sealed around the mouthpiece.
  5. At the start of breathing in, press the inhaler whilst continuing to breathe in slowly and deeply.
  6. Hold your breath for five to ten seconds.
  7. Breathe out slowly.
  8. For further doses, repeat steps two to seven.

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Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.

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Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151