As a caregiver, you may not even think about breathing. You just do it. However, the person you are caring for may rely on medication(s) to help them breathe. If the person you’re caring for uses a puffer, you may need to help them with it. In this video, we’ll review two different types of inhalers, commonly known as puffers, how to use them and what you can do to help.
If the person you’re caring for uses a puffer, you may need to help them with it.
In this video, we’ll review two different types of inhalers, commonly known as puffers, how to use them and what you can do to help
Let’s try it!
Before you get started, you’ll need the inhaler the doctor ordered for the person you’re caring for.
There are two main types of inhalers, the aerosol kind most people are used to seeing, called a metered-dose inhaler or MDI and the dry powder inhaler, which has capsules of powder in them that you inhale.
You’ll also need a glass of water, a small bowl, and a washcloth.
If they use an aero chamber or spacer, which is a plastic tube that helps breathe in the medication if they have trouble using the aerosol inhaler, you’ll also need that.
Start by washing your hands.
If you’re using an aerosol inhaler, shake the inhaler up and down for a few seconds to make sure the medication is well mixed.
Remove the cap on the inhaler, if it’s a new inhaler spray it 1 or 2 times to make sure it’s working.
Attach the aero chamber spacer to the inhaler if the person you’re caring for uses it.
Help them place the mouthpiece of the inhaler or spacer between their teeth so their lips seal around it.
Encourage them to slowly breathe in then press down at the canister part of the inhaler, then have them hold their breath for as long as they can.
When they can’t hold their breath anymore, remove the inhaler and encourage them to breathe out slowly.
If they have multiple inhalers to take at the same time, wait for a few minutes between each one.
The dry powdered inhalers all work a little differently, so talk to their pharmacist to get more instruction on how to use those properly
When they’re done, have them rinse their mouth with water. Inhaler medication can cause mouth sores, infections or throat irritation, so they shouldn’t swallow the water. Have them spit the water into a nearby sink or small bowl.
They could also brush their teeth if they’d like or if they can still taste the medication.
Finish up by cleaning the mouthpiece of the inhaler with a damp washcloth and put the cap back on.
If they used an aero chamber, remove the end caps and rinse it with warm soapy water. Set it aside to air dry.
Helping someone with their inhaler isn’t too hard, but there is a lot to remember. With a bit of practice, you’ll master the skill in no time.
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