Being diagnosed with asthma can be scary. If you or your child has been diagnosed with asthma, it is important that you understand the available treatments. There are three main types of inhalers that are used to treat asthma. Each of the three types of inhalers require different techniques to get the right amount of medication and may be used for different reasons. Here’s what you need to know about the types of asthma inhalers and how to use them appropriately.
Metered Dose Inhalers
A metered dose inhaler consists of a canister within a mouthpiece. The medication shoots out when released. To use it, you press to release the medication right after you begin inhaling slowly and deeply through the mouthpiece. Some newer metered dose inhalers are activated by breathing and don’t require you to press to release the medication. This was one of the first handheld inhalers available and is one of the most common types of inhalers. Metered dose inhalers can be used as rescue inhalers when you are short of breath, or they can be used to administer a daily dose of maintenance asthma medication.
A nebulizer is a machine that converts asthma medication into a smooth mist that you inhale through a mask or mouthpiece. Nebulizers are usually only used by individuals who cannot use handheld inhalers, such as metered dose or dry powder inhalers. Infants, toddlers, and small children, as well as very ill or elderly patients, are often prescribed nebulizers. Nebulizers can also be used to administer daily maintenance medication or as a rescue treatment.
Dry Powder Inhalers
A dry powder inhaler is similar to a metered dose inhaler. But instead of the medication shooting out on release, you simply take a fast, deep breath to pull the medication into your lungs. These inhalers are not often used for rescue because you may not be able to pull a strong enough breath to get the medication through the inhaler. Most often, dry powder inhalers contain maintenance or preventative medication for asthma patients.
If you or your child has recently been diagnosed with asthma, or if you are experiencing symptoms of asthma, contact us today for an appointment and for more information about treatment options.