Whether your child uses a preventative or just a quick relief inhaler, it’s clear that inhalers can be a very helpful tool to prevent or treat breathing problems, like asthma attacks. However, it is important that an inhaler is used correctly or your child may not receive the full benefits of the medication.

A New York Times article highlighted a study that suggests that many patients are improperly using their inhaler. The common mistake that the study found is that many patients were not waiting long enough between puffs. Many doctors recommend that patients wait a full minute in between puffs of inhaled medications. Of the 7,500+ patients participating in the study, 84% of people did not wait the absolute minimum time of 30 seconds between inhalations. Doctors also recommend connecting the inhaler to a spacer, a chamber between the inhaler and the patient’s mouth that makes the medication easier to breathe in.

Using an asthma inhaler correctly may help prevent asthma attacks, possible emergency room visits, or the use of more medication than necessary. Whether you assist your child in taking their breathing medication or they take it on their own, it can be helpful to review the steps for proper inhaler usage with your child. If you have any questions or concerns about proper inhaler usage, please reach out to your child’s primary care clinician!