Making the most of your inhaler

Facts | 5/12/2022
Making the most of your inhaler
Taking care of your asthma or COPD also means taking care of your inhaler. It’s worth to know inside out how to properly use, clean and store your inhaler device to get the best out of all its features.

If you suffer from asthma or COPD, an inhaler is a real helper – even a true lifesaver at times – so it makes sense to keep your inhaler in good working order.

There are many types of inhalers, which means it’s important to always check the instructions on the package or product website to be sure of the correct use of your device and the best way to clean, store and look after it.

Keeping your inhaler clean

Cleaning your inhaler is easy and worth the effort, as undesired residue could stop the ideal flow of medication as well as collect germs that you won’t want to inhale.

If you have a quite common pressurised metered-dose inhaler it’s important not to let water wash onto the metal canister. Only rinse the plastic parts in warm running water and let them dry naturally, inside and out.

If you use another common type of inhaler, a dry powder inhaler, the powder is sensitive to moisture so it’s important not to let any water get on it. Simply wipe the mouthpiece clean with a dry cloth to keep it fresh and ready for use. If it does get wet, you will need to replace it.

Storing your inhaler well

Conditions that are too moist, too hot or cold, or too dusty could make your medication less effective and even less safe. Look for a place with an even temperature, no higher than 25°Celsius. The inhaler devices are normally durable but drugs within them don’t do well in hot cars, bathrooms or direct sunlight, or anywhere too cold. In winter you could keep your inhaler in a chest pocket to protect it against cold.

Like any precious possession that you regularly use, you won’t want to lose your inhaler. Try always keeping it in the same place, just as you would your car keys or your wallet, so you can find it at a moment’s notice. At best, taking care of your inhaler is an easy daily habit that will help you manage better your asthma.    

When to replace your inhaler

Another important part of inhaler care is checking expiration dates. If your medication is out of date it could be less effective. It’s impossible to judge by smell if asthma medication is not okay, so always follow the label instructions.

For disposal, check with your pharmacist on the best approach for your area. Throwing medicines in the garbage or flushing them down the toilet is damaging the environment. Inhalers – even when seemingly empty – are hazardous household waste. By safely disposing out-of-date medication you are taking better care of yourself but also your environment.


By Laurel Colless

Photo by iStock

Orion Corporation is a globally operating Finnish pharmaceutical company. We develop, manufacture and market human and veterinary pharmaceuticals and active pharmaceutical ingredients. The dry powder inhaler developed at Orion is in the core of our respiratory therapy area.