A practical guide to inhalers (Asthma)

11) HandiHaler®

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My name’s Karen and I’ve got a respiratory condition. Today I’m going to show you how to use your HandiHaler. This is going to be a short, quick guide and I’d also recommend you read the instructions that come with with your inhaler and keep this on you. First, I’m going to cover a few important points about my inhalers, then I’m going to talk you through how to use it, before I show you how to use it. At the end I’ll talk to you about, how to clean and store your inhaler, how to know when its empty and when to order more, and what I do if I accidentally miss a dose, or take too much and what to do if going to a clinic, or the hospital. Some inhalers are given to prevent flare-ups, so you have to take them regularly in order for them to work. They would not prevent flare-ups if used only when your condition got worse. This is because they can take a few days or more to work. HandiHaler is a dry powder inhaler. This means it’s a dry powder that gets inhaled into your lungs. This is your dust cap, this is your mouthpiece and inside you’ll see the chamber where your capsule goes. The green button, once this is closed over. The green button if you press that in, that pierces your capsules. When you get your capsules from the pharmacist always check the expiry date. These are on the side of the box. It’s also found on the sleeve. If they are out of date, return them to your pharmacist. Don’t use them. You should take your inhaler at the same time every day. I find it handy to set an alarm on a mobile phone, just to remind me. Your inhaler can be taken with or without food. You need to remember to sit up straight, or stand up straight and keep your head in a neutral position.

To take your inhaler, open the dust cap and then your mouthpiece. Now, remove a capsule. Taking care not to expose any more than one. If any more’s exposed, throw it in the bin and don’t use it. Place your capsule in your inhaler, and close it over again. Now, push in the green button. You should hear a click when the capsule is pierced. Now you need to breathe out, but not into the inhaler because then you might scatter the drugs (EXHALES). Then place your mouth round the mouthpiece. Forming a seal. Then breathe in as long and as hard as you can and hold that breath for a count of 10. No more than 10. Then breathe out. Now repeat this again, just to ensure that all of the drug have been inhaled. Once you’ve completed that and you’re breathing normally again. Open up. Remove the capsule and check that it has been pierced. You can see the holes. And check there’s no drugs left inside. This is then thrown out. I’ll now demonstrate how to use your inhaler (CLICK, CLICK, EXHALES, SUCKS, EXHALES, EXHALES, SUCKS, EXHALES) Once you’ve taken your inhaler, always remember to brush your teeth or use a mouthwash. This helps prevent any side effects. Such as voice hoarseness and mild infection.

Your inhaler should be cleaned once a month, immediately after you’ve used it. Because it takes 24 hours to dry. rinse the inhaler in warm water. Tip the excess water onto a kitchen towel. And let it air-dry for 24 hours. You should keep your inhaler somewhere it’s not going to get moist or wet and it’s handy to keep it somewhere, that’s going to remind you to take it. I keep it in my handbag, so I know where it is. If you forget to take your inhaler, take it if you remember within an hour or 2. If more than this, miss the dose. And get back on track with the next dose. Do not take the missed dose. If you’ve taken more doses than you should then call a healthcare professional and ask for advice. Remember to order more capsules when you have 5 left. Don’t order before this, because you’ll end up with too many
and the drugs can go out of date. Also remember, if you’re going on holiday to order them in time.

If you’re going to a clinic or hospital, remember to take your inhaler with you. As the healthcare professional will need to know what you’re taking. They also might not have what you’re taking in stock.