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Using an Asthma Inhaler
Using an Asthma Inhaler

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Online learning resources for diabetes, asthma, hypertension, and nutrition.
Diabetes 101: Learn more about diabetes, managing your blood sugar levels, and your diet.
Diabetes 201: Learn more about diabetes, managing your blood sugars, and your diet.
Asthma 101: Learn more about asthma and dealing with shortness of breath.
Hypertension 101: Learn more about hypertension and managing your blood pressure.
Nutrition 101: Learn more about improving your nutrition and diet

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Lesson 5: Asthma Treatments

Lesson 1: What is Asthma? Lesson 2: Asthma Triggers Lesson 3: Reducing Asthma Triggers Lesson 4: Daily Care for Your Asthma Lesson 5: Astma Treatments

Back to Asthma Channel

Wow! You're almost a lesson away from graduating from Asthma 101! Now that you know all about daily care, let's learn more about the treatments you will need to stick to your asthma program on a daily basis and in emergencies.

There's a lot to learn, but by the end of this lesson, you'll be able to spout out the answers to all of these questions:

  • What is a metered dose inhaler and how do I use it?
  • What is a nebulizer and how do I use it?
  • What are the different medications for use with an inhaler?
  • What non-inhaled medications are there for asthma?

Assignment #1

Well you know the drill by now. Before we get started, test your wits on the Great Asthma Treatment Quiz and get excited for a lesson full of even more video footage, an Asthma Adventure game, and the informative content you have come to know and love!

Congratulations! Only one more quiz to go! We hope it whet your appetite for more amazing asthma facts!

Waiting to Inhale

Inhalation is often the most effective way to deliver asthma medication due to it's direct route to the inflamed area–the bronchi and bronchioles leading to the lungs–and the lack of side effects in comparison to many oral or injected medications.

There are typically three devices used to deliver your inhaled medication into your airways.

  • The most common is the metered dose inhaler (MDI); a small, portable pressurized container that sprays a specific amount of medication into your mouth and airways.

  • A nebulizer is a device that delivers a mist of medication through a tube and mask that fits over your nose and mouth, using air or oxygen under pressure to propel the medication. Nebulizers are typically used to treat asthmatics who cannot use an inhaler, like infants, young kids, and the severely ill of all ages.

  • The dry powder inhaler is a newer method of delivering inhaled asthma medication without using chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) which hurts the earth's ozone layer and is now the subject of much environmental regulation. The dry powder inhaler delivers fine, dry powdered medication into the lungs.

You can attach a device called a spacer to deliver inhaled medication more effectively. With a spacer, you can inhale more medication deeper into your airways, where it is intended to go, instead of into your mouth or diffused into the air. Many asthmatics, especially little kids, may have trouble coordinating inhaling and triggering a puff from a metered dose inhaler. For these patients, a spacer can be of great help.

Assignment #2

This is your lucky day because not only do we have detailed instructions below, but we also happen to have a fabulous video that will give you step-by-step instructions on using your metered dose inhaler. Click here to go to the videotape! You need at least a 56k connection and a RealPlayer to view the video. You can get a free RealPlayer at

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