Inhaler Use

Using an Inhaler

Your healthcare provider may prescribe medicine that you breathe in using a metered-dose inhaler (MDI). An inhaler sends a measured amount of medicine in a fine mist.

Step 1:

  • Shake the inhaler and remove the cap.
  • Take a deep breath and let it out.

Step 2:

  • Close your lips around the end of the inhaler mouthpiece. Or if you were told to use the "open-mouth" method, hold the inhaler 1 to 2 inches from your mouth.

Step 3:

  • Breathe in slowly and deeply as you press down on the inhaler to release the medication.
  • Inhale fully.

Step 4:

  • Hold your breath for a count of 10.
  • Then breathe out slowly through your mouth.
  • Repeat these steps for each puff of medicine prescribed.


  • If the inhaler is being used for the first time or has not been used for a while, prime it as directed by the product maker. You can find important information about the medicine in the package insert. This is the paper that comes with the medicine.
  • If you use more than one inhaler, make sure you know which one to use first.
  • Your healthcare provider or pharmacist can show you how to use your inhaler the right way. Even if you think you are using it the right way, it is still a good idea to check.