ProAirThe Essential Guide to Understanding Asthma Inhalers

The Essential Guide to Understanding Asthma Inhalers


Asthma is a chronic disease affecting millions globally. Most patients effectively manage the situation with appropriate medication and lifestyle changes, while others require a more aggressive treatment approach. Central to managing asthma is something most patients are quite familiar with – asthma inhalers. This article serves as an essential guide to understanding asthma inhalers.

What are Asthma Inhalers?

Asthma inhalers are devices used to deliver medication directly into the lungs. They come in different forms with the end goal being effective control of asthma symptoms. Controlling asthma involves keeping a close eye on symptoms and knowing how to use an inhaler correctly.

Different Types of Asthma Inhalers

The various types of asthma inhalers include metered dose inhalers (MDIs), dry powder inhalers (DPIs), and nebulizers. MDIs are the most common type and generally fit into a pocket, while DPIs are breath-activated. Nebulizers use a machine to convert liquid medicine into a fine mist that patients breathe in.

The Role of Asthma Inhalers

The primary role of an asthma inhaler is to get the medicine right into the lungs. They help to relax the muscles around the airways (the tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs). When these muscles relax, it becomes easier for a person to breathe. They also reduce inflammation and swelling in the airways, making them less sensitive to triggers.

Understanding the Medications

There are two main types of medications used in inhalers: quick-relief medications and long-term control medications. Quick-relief medications deliver fast relief for acute symptoms and are primarily used in rescue inhalers. Long-term control medications, on the other hand, are used daily to control chronic symptoms and prevent asthma attacks.

Correct Usage of Asthma Inhalers

The correct usage of inhalers is crucial to controlling and managing asthma effectively. It’s not just about taking your medicine when you’re supposed to but also making sure you’re doing it correctly. Mistakes while using your inhaler may lead to less medication reaching the lungs, causing ineffective treatment.

Asthma Inhalers and Daily Life

It’s essential to lead a normal life while managing asthma. That means going to work or school, playing sports, and doing anything else you enjoy. Having your inhaler with you at all times, knowing how to use it correctly and when to use it, can contribute significantly to an active and healthy lifestyle, even with asthma.


Understanding asthma inhalers is a fundamental part of managing this chronic disease. Knowing the different types of inhalers, understanding the medications used, and ensuring the correct usage is nothing short of crucial. With this knowledge, managing asthma can become a more straightforward and less daunting task.


1. Can I overuse my quick-relief inhaler?

Yes, overuse of quick-relief inhalers can lead to worsening asthma control. They are meant for use in emergencies and not as a regular therapy.

2. Why is it necessary to rinse the mouth after using a steroid inhaler?

You should rinse your mouth after using a steroid inhaler to prevent a fungal infection in the mouth called thrush, which is a side effect of the treatment.

3. Can I share my inhaler with others?

No. Inhalers are personalized, and their sharing can lead to transmission of microbial infection. Furthermore, people may have different prescribed doses or medications.

4. What should I do if my inhaler doesn’t relieve my symptoms?

If your inhaler doesn’t give you relief or starts lasting a shorter amount of time than usual, it might indicate your asthma is getting worse. You should contact your doctor immediately.

5. Is it OK for people with asthma to exercise?

Yes, people with asthma can and should exercise. To avoid triggering symptoms, they should have a preventative inhaler on hand during physical activity.


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