How to use your inhaler

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What is a Rotahaler?
Many people that suffer from asthma, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) or cystic fibrosis use dry powder inhalers (DPI’s) to administer their medication. The Rotahaler is just one of many devices that are available. The Rotahaler was designed to make inhaled medication more convenient and effective for asthmatic patients. Improving the success of this treatment, however, is not only a matter of inhaler design but also of optimising and simplifying instructions and the mode of inhalation. It uses special capsules called Rotacaps that contain the medication in a very fine powder form that is effectively delivered into the lungs when you inhale through the Rotahaler.

What is a metered dose inhaler?
A metered dose inhaler (MDI), also known as an aerosol inhaler or puffer, is a device for delivering medicine directly into the lungs. It consists of a pressurised metal canister containing a solution or suspension of medicine, placed within a plastic case with a mouthpiece. When the canister is pushed down, a valve delivers a measured dose of medicine in a fine mist. This is inhaled into the lungs via the mouthpiece. Using an inhaler delivers your medicine directly into the lungs where it is needed.
If you are taking more than one inhaler, it is important to take them in the correct order. The correct order can make a big difference! Be sure to discuss this with your doctor, or pharmacist.

It is very important that one knows the proper way to use their inhaler for safety and for effectiveness.  The wrong technique could mean that the medicine is ending up in your mouth or your throat which can lead to irritation. Always check the expiry date before use.

To use a Rotahaler:
1.    To load the Rotahaler, hold it by the mouthpiece and twist the barrel in one direction until it stops turning.
2.    Holding the Rotahaler vertically, press the clear end of the Rotacap into the capsule insert hole (the top of the Rotahaler should be level with the top of the hole).
3.    Holding the Rotahaler vertically, with the white dot up, twist the barrel in the opposite direction until it stops – the Rotahaler is now loaded.
4.    Breathe out.
5.    Place the mouthpiece in your teeth and close your lips around it.
6.    Tilt your head back slightly.
7.    Breathe in deeply and forcefully through your mouth.
8.    Hold your breath and remove the Rotahaler: from your mouth.
9.    Hold your breath for 10 seconds or as long as you can.
10.    Breathe out slowly.
11.    To ensure you have inhaled the full dose, replace the Rotahaler in your mouth and repeat the above steps.
12.    Discard the empty Rotacap shell.
13.    Sometimes 2 or 3 forceful inhalations are needed to make sure you have inhaled the full dose.
14.    If a second Rotacap is prescribed, repeat the procedure.
15.    If your Diskhaler contains a corticosteroid medicine, rinse you mouth out & gargle with water after you use it, to prevent a local yeast infection (thrush) in your mouth, and hoarseness in your throat.

Source: The Lung Association http://dev.lung.ca

How to Clean your Rotahaler

About once a week, wash each of the two halves of the Rotahaler in warm water, making sure that the empty Rotacap shells have been removed first. Dry the Rotahaler thoroughly before reassembling.

To use an MDI:
1.    Shake the inhaler well before use (3 or 4 shakes)
2.    Remove the cap
3.    Breathe out, away from your inhaler
4.    Bring the inhaler to your mouth. Place it in your mouth between your teeth and close your mouth around it.
5.    Start to breathe in slowly. Press the top of you inhaler once and keep breathing in slowly until you have taken a full breath.
6.    Remove the inhaler from your mouth, and hold your breath for about 10 seconds, then breathe out.
7.    If you need a second puff, wait 30 seconds, shake your inhaler again, and repeat steps 3-6. After you’ve used your MDI, rinse out your mouth and record the number of doses taken.
8.    Store all puffers at room temperature

Information for this article was taken from the following sources:  http://www.riverpharmacy.ca, http://www.wvasthma.org, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, http://www.netdoctor.co.uk, http://dev.lung.ca/diseases-maladies/help-aide_e.php#rotahaler

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