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Using a dry powder inhaler

Check your medicine: Step 1

 A man checking to make sure he has the correct medicine
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slide 1 of 8, Check your medicine: Step 1,

Check that you have the correct medicine. If you use several inhalers, put a label on each one so that you know which one to use at the right time.

Remove the cap: Step 2

 A man removing the cap from the inhaler
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slide 2 of 8, Remove the cap: Step 2,

Remove the cap from the inhaler, if there is one.

Load the inhaler: Step 3

 A dose being loaded into the inhaler
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slide 3 of 8, Load the inhaler: Step 3,

Add or load a dose of medicine as directed by your health care provider. Your inhaler may look different from the one pictured.

Breathe out completely: Step 4

 A man breathing out completely
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slide 4 of 8, Breathe out completely: Step 4,

Tilt your head back a little, and breathe out slowly and completely. Hold the inhaler away from your mouth when you breathe out. Do not breathe out into the inhaler. This can blow some of the powder out of the inhaler. Also, the moisture in your breath can cause the dry powder to clump together and clog the inhaler.

Place the inhaler in your mouth: Step 5

 A man placing the inhaler in his mouth
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slide 5 of 8, Place the inhaler in your mouth: Step 5,

Place the inhaler in your mouth, and close your lips tightly around the mouthpiece.

Inhale: Step 6

 A man inhaling medicine
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slide 6 of 8, Inhale: Step 6,

Inhale quickly and deeply through your mouth for 2 or 3 seconds. This pulls the powder from the inhaler into your lungs. After you have inhaled the powder, take the inhaler out of your mouth.

Hold your breath: Step 7

 A man holding his breath and looking at his watch
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slide 7 of 8, Hold your breath: Step 7,

Hold your breath for 10 seconds. This will let the medicine settle in your lungs. Then slowly breathe out through pursed lips. Make sure not to breathe out into the inhaler.

Rinse your mouth: Step 8

 A man rinsing his mouth
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slide 8 of 8, Rinse your mouth: Step 8,

If you are using an inhaler with corticosteroid medicine, gargle and rinse out your mouth with water after you use the inhaler. Do not swallow the water.

Current as of: July 6, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine

Research Health Topics

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