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How do I use a metered-dose inhaler (MDI)?

This is how to use a metered dose inhaler (MDI): Remove the cap from the inhaler, and from the spacer if necessary.

  1. If necessary, prime the inhaler (squirt a puff into the air). Check the package insert for specific instructions. Some MDIs don't need to be primed, and others need one, two, or more priming puffs.
  2. If you're using a spacer, insert the inhaler into the rubber end of the spacer.
  3. Shake the inhaler well immediately before each puff to mix and warm the contents.
  4. Breathe out.
If you're using a spacer with a mouthpiece:
  1. Place the mouthpiece fully into the mouth between the teeth, holding the inhaler upright and closing the lips around the mouthpiece.
  2. Press the canister down to release a puff of medication.
  3. Breathe in deeply and slowly -- for 3 to 5 seconds -- through your mouth.
  4. Hold your breath for 10 seconds.
  5. Remove the spacer from your mouth and breathe out slowly.
  6. Repeat steps 4 through 10 for each inhalation prescribed by your doctor.
If you're using a spacer with a mask:
  1. Place the mask over the child's mouth and nose, with the inhaler upright. Maintain the seal between the face and mask.
  2. Press the canister down to release a puff of medication.
  3. Encourage the child to breathe in deeply and slowly -- for 3 to 5 seconds -- when possible.
  4. Maintain the seal for 6 breaths while the child breathes in, then remove the mask from the face.
  5. Repeat steps 4 through 9 for each inhalation prescribed by the doctor.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.