Eight tips to help you get the most out of your inhalers

Winter can be a difficult time for people with lung problems. Inhaled medicines can help, but only if they are inhaled deeply into your lungs.

These 8 tips will help you inhale your medicines properly.

With winter on its way please talk to your doctor and pharmacist about this brochure, using the tips as a checklist.

Tip #1

Know what type(s) of inhaler you use, what it is for and when to use it.

  1. Metered dose inhaler (MDI)
  2. HandiHaler
  3. Accuhaler
  4. Turbuhaler

Tip #2

70% of people don’t use their inhaler properly. Ask your doctor to check your inhaler technique when your inhaler prescription is renewed, even if you find it easy to use.

Tip #3

Inhaler technique can change over time. Ask your pharmacist to check your technique when you collect your prescription.

Once you and your pharmacist are confident you are using your inhaler correctly, have your technique re-checked every few months.

Tip #4

If you use a Metered Dose Inhaler (MDI) ask your doctor or pharmacist about using it with a spacer which will improve delivery of the medicine into your lungs.


Tip #5

If you use a nebuliser ask your doctor if you could try an MDI and spacer instead. This combination can be just as effective as a nebuliser, is more portable and has fewer side effects.


Tip #6

If you are using several different types of inhalers you may be able to use the same type for your different medicines.

List all the different types of inhalers you use and discuss the list with your doctor.

Tip #7

An inhaler in good working order will work better. Ask your pharmacist or doctor:

  • How do I clean my inhaler?
  • Does it need regular maintenance?
  • How do I check the expiry date?
  • What should I do if it gets wet?
  • How can I tell how much medicine is left?
  • Where should I store it?

Tip #8

If you would like extra help with your inhaler ask your doctor or pharmacist about a Home Medicines Review.


Vaccinations against the flu (yearly) and pneumonia (every 5 years) are recommended for most people with lung problems. Ask your doctor if you need to be vaccinated this winter.

Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do for your lungs. It is never too late to stop.

For more information:

Talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Ask for a Home Medicines Review.

Re-read the written instructions that come with your inhaler.

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