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Only someone with a prescription should use an albuterol inhaler; the patient should follow the doctor’s orders and use the proper inhalation technique to ensure that they receive the right amount of medicine.

How to Use an Albuterol Inhaler

  1. Take off the dust cap that is on the end of the section placed in the mouth. In the event that the dust cap is missing, be sure to check for dirt and make sure there are no objects within the mouthpiece.
  2. Check the canister. It needs to be fully inserted into the mouthpiece.
  3. If this is the first time the inhaler is being used or if the inhaler has not been used for more than two weeks (14 days), the inhaler needs to be primed. In addition, if the inhaler has recently been dropped, it may need to be primed prior to use.
  4. Priming the inhaler is simple. Shake the inhaler well and then press the canister down four times. These depressions should cause albuterol to be sprayed in the air four times. Be sure to perform this action away from the face to avoid getting the medication into the eyes.
  5. Now that it is primed, it is time to take a dose.
  6. Shake the inhaler.
  7. Blow out as much air as possible through your mouth.
  8. Holding the canister with the mouthpiece facing you, place your index finger on top of the albuterol canister and then place your thumb underneath the area where the bottom of the canister sits (so you can press the canister down easily).
  9. After closing your lips tightly around the mouthpiece and while pressing down once on the albuterol canister, breathe in very slowly and deeply as the medication enters your mouth.
  10. If possible, hold your breath for about 10 seconds.
  11. Take the inhaler out of your mouth and slowly breathe out.
  12. If your doctor has prescribed two puffs, wait one minute and then repeat steps 3 through 6.
  13. You can replace the dust cap or clean the mouth of your inhaler. If you do not clean your inhaler after each use, be sure to clean it regularly.

Always follow the directions provided to you by the manufacturer when cleaning your inhaler. If you have any questions about how to properly clean your inhaler, be sure to ask your pharmacist or doctor for help.


Is a nebulizer better than an inhaler?

Nebulizers and inhalers may offer the same benefits because they are using the same medication. However, an inhaler is meant to be used as a rescue device; nebulizers, by contrast, are not rescue devices. Which one works best depends on the individual and the situation at hand.

How often can you use an albuterol inhaler?

Every four to six hours.

Should you rinse your mouth after using an albuterol inhaler?

Yes, neglecting to rinse your mouth after using your inhaler could result in the development of thrush (a yeast infection in the mouth).

Disclaimer: this article does not constitute or replace medical advice. If you have an emergency or a serious medical question, please contact a medical professional or call 911 immediately. To see our full medical disclaimer, visit our Terms of Use page.

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