Why Cleaning Your HFA Inhaler Is Important

What Happens If I Don't Clean My Inhaler

Albuterol Inhaler. Photo: © ADAM

Question: Why Is Cleaning My HFA Inhaler Important?

Not cleaning your HFA inhaler can lead to worsening asthma symptoms such as:

Learn how to clean your HFA inhaler correctly.

Answer:

One of the important differences between your old CFC inhaler and your new HFA inhaler is that it needs to be cleaned. Failure to clean your HFA inhaler can result in buildup that can block your medication from reaching your lungs.

Make sure that you review the package insert as some of the instructions can be different from inhaler to inhaler.

Follow These Steps to Clean Your HFA Inhaler

  1. Remove the medication canister from the mouthpiece.
  2. Wash the mouthpiece under warm water for 30 seconds -- do not wash the medication canister or get it wet. Shake off any excess water.
  3. Let mouthpiece dry thoroughly (such as overnight) before replacing the medication canister. If you need to use the inhaler before it is completely dry, actuate the inhaler 2 times to make sure it is working properly.
  4. Place the medication canister back into the mouthpiece

What Happens If I Do Not Clean My Inhaler?

If you do not clean your inhaler then medication buildup and blockages can occur. This can lead to poor performance and irregular or inconsistent amounts of medication being delivered to your lungs.

Over the counter inhalers like Asthmanephrine do not require cleaning.

Use Your Inhaler Correctly

After cleaning your inhaler you will want to make sure that you use it correctly. While an inhaler is a pretty simple device, many patients do not use their inhaler correctly. Check out these instructions to make sure you

  1. Remove the cap and shake the inhaler vigorously several times.
  1. Breathe out all the way.
  2. Place the inhaler into the spacer
  3. Press down on the inhaler one time and begin to breathe in within a few seconds.
  4. Breathe in slowly and deeply
  5. Hold your breath as you count to ten. If you are not able to hold for a 10 count, begin to breathe out slowly.

Sources:

Neighborhood Health Plan. How To Clean Your HFA Inhaler. Asthma Education Materials. Accessed November 7, 2015.

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