Don’t Forget This Inhaler Step (and a Video)

A recent email conversation with a friend and regular reader prompted me to comb through YouTube this morning for a video about inhalers and spacers. You see, my friend has a daughter with asthma also, and no one’s ever given her this crucial bit of information in the inhaler process: asthma patients should hold their breaths for 10 seconds after inhaling, so the medicine stays in their lungs longer.

I wish my friend’s experience were the exception, but it’s not. AG also used the inhaler/spacer combo for a ridiculous amount of time before any medical personnel told us counting to ten before the exhale would help her more, and you know what? It really does.

This is one of those tips every asthma parent or patient should know and it’s all over the asthma websites, yet like so many other guidelines somehow it falls through the cracks. Here again, I’m wondering why asthma diagnosis doesn’t go more like this:

This is asthma.
These things tend to set it off.
This is how you treat it.
These are some things to keep in mind.

Instead of this:

Um, your daughter has asthma. Fill this prescription for a nebulizer, and give her an albuterol treatment whenever she’s breathing too fast.

Anyway, check out the inhaler visual from a pediatric pulmonologist:

Lists make more sense to my brain, so here’s that format:

1. Your mouth should form a tight seal around the mouthpiece of the spacer.
2. Squirt the medicine, and breathe in slowly.
3. Hold your breath for 10 seconds.
4. Exhale.

AG even takes the process one step further, on the recommendation of yet another former pediatrician. When she exhales into the spacer, she breathes in again to capture any residual medicine. Is this step redundant? Possibly, but it makes me feel better.