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Using a Home Blood Pressure Monitor
Using a Home Blood Pressure Monitor

(More Video)

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

So, how do I use a metered dose inhaler anyway?

We hope you learned a lot from the video. Read on to learn more about using your inhaler. Although many metered dose inhalers function in the same way, Keep in mind that some medications use inhalers with different features. Make sure you ask your doctor exactly how to use your specific inhaler. Here are directions that apply to many inhalers:

  1. Shake the inhaler well and remove the mouthpiece cap.

  2. Breathe all of the air out of your lungs.

  3. Hold the inhaler in an upright position one or two inches away from your open mouth with your index finger on top of the metal canister and your thumb supporting the bottom of the inhaler.

  4. With your index finger, firmly press down the metal canister with while breathing in slowly and deeply through your mouth.

  5. Continue to inhale as fully as you can and try to hold your breath for 5-10 seconds.

  6. Wait 30-60 seconds and shake the inhaler again. Repeat steps 2-6 for each inhalation as prescribed by your doctor and put the mouthpiece cap back on.

  7. If you are using a corticosteroid inhaler, gargle with water after completing all of your prescribed inhalations to prevent upper airway irritations or an oral yeast infection.

How often do I have to clean my inhaler?

Clean and dry your inhaler thoroughly at least once per day. Remove the metal canister and clean the inhaler and mouthpiece cap in warm, running water. Allow both pieces to dry thoroughly and place the metal canister back into the inhaler.

Time for a new inhaler?

If you don't know how empty your medication canister is, you cannot be sure your are receiving the correct amount of medication with each puff you take. For daily maintenance medication, once your doctor has prescribed the number of puffs you will take per day, divide the number of inhalations per canister (usually printed on the canister) by the number of puffs to be taken each day to calculate how many days it will last and when you need to get a new one.

Using a nebulizer

We learned that a nebulizer is a device that delivers medication in a fine mist form through through a tube and mask worn over the nose and mouth. Aside from the mentioned usage with the very young or severely ill, nebulizers are also often used as intensive therapy to help reverse acute asthma attacks in people of all ages. You don't necessarily need to be in a hospital to use one either. Nebulizers on the market come in different sizes with different features, like a small, portable size, battery pack, or adapter for use in your car.

Nebulizers have different usage and maintenance instructions depending on whether you are receiving a treatment in a doctor's office, at home, or with a portable system. Your doctor can instruct you on the proper usage and care of your specific nebulizer. The information packet that comes with the device should also be a great use to you. Below are some basic usage instructions for a home nebulizer.

  1. Put one dose of your prescribed inhaled medication into the clean, dry nebulizer reservoir.

  2. Connect the nebulizer reservoir to the mouthpiece or face mask.

  3. Connect the nebulizer to the compressor that will pressurize the medication into a fine mist.

  4. Place the mouthpiece into your mouth or put the mask over your nose and mouth. If you use a mask, be sure there are no leaks to prevent the solution from getting into your eyes.

  5. Turn on the device so that mist starts to form in the nebulizer chamber. Sit up straight, if physically possible, and breathe calmly, deeply and evenly to get the maximum benefit from the medication.

  6. Continue until there is no more mist formed in the nebulizer chamber. This will usually take 5-15 minutes.

  7. Clean and dry your nebulizer according to the manufacturer instructions that came with it.

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