Thanks to the Respiratory Department at Counties Manukau Health I am able to include (see below) the patient handouts on how to use a “puffer” with spacer, a turbuhaler and a handihaler (Spiriva). These are the most common types of inhalers. There is also an accuhaler which is less common that I am more than happy to send out on request.
At Counties Manukau Health we recommend that all “puffers” are taken through a spacer.
I know what some of you might be thinking! They seem pretty uncool and can be bulky and obvious, but they really are the only way to ensure you are taking your inhaler correctly every time.
Hold you inhaler in one hand, wet the other hand and hold that hand up about 15cm from the inhaler, palm facing the opening of the inhaler. Push the button and spray the medication onto your wet hand. Where does the medication end up? Stuck to your hand! Just like the medication getting stuck in your mouth and not all the way down to the small airways in you lungs.
Very occasionally you may be given a nebuliser. This is becoming more unusual now as research has shown us that the same amount of medication (or even more) can be administered into the lungs through a spacer and puffer/MDI inhaler.₂
More information: how physiotherapy can help with asthma.
This blog was written in conjunction with Michelle Mills, Clinical Nurse Manager and Euna Hwang, Clinical Pharmacist, Respiratory Department, Counties Manukau Health.
₁Bisgaard, H. (1997). Delivery of inhaled medication to children. Journal of Asthma. 34 (6),443-469.
₂Newman, K. Milne, S., Hamilton, C. & Hall, K. (2002). A comparison of albuterol administered by metered dose inhalers and spacer with albuterol by nebulizer in adults presenting to an urban emergency department with acute asthma, Chest; 121, 1036-1041.
Brigitte Eastwood has worked at Counties Manukau Health since she graduated in 2006 from Otago. She has a postgraduate certificate in paediatrics from Melbourne University. She is a senior physiotherapist in the cardiorespiratory team and currently covers pulmonary and cardiac rehabilitation, helps out on the wards, works weekends/oncall, is currently involved in two respiratory physiotherapy research projects and runs a paediatric respiratory clinic. Brigitte has also spent four months volunteering in Nepal as a physiotherapist a few years ago and has assisted with Respiratory clinics in Samoa.
Looking for a physio near you or in a particular clinical area? Click here to find a physio