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Rush For Relief Can Lead To Improper Use Of Inhalers

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CHAPEL HILL — For asthma sufferers, the rush for breathing relief often makesfor incorrect use of inhalers.The wrong technique can make the disease worse in the long run.

During an asthma attack, sufferers still need to take the time to properly get the medicine they need.

Doctors and pharmacists can demonstrate the correct way to usean asthma inhaler.

Tina Brock, a clinical assistant professor at UNC, explains the correctprocedure.

"Shake [the inhaler] well. Exhale deeply to the end of afull breath. You want to place the inhaler in your mouth," says Brock.

Make a firm seal around the mouthpiecewith the mouth, making sure not to block the mouth piece withthe tongue or teeth.

"Sit up straight. Begin aslow, deep inhalation and then depress that. Inhaledeeply as full as you can, hold it for a countof 10, and exhale through the nose or throughpursed lips," she says.

Brock says the most common mistakes are blocking the mouthpiece with thetongue orteeth, and not coordinating inhalation withdepressing the canister.

"Not inhaling deeply, notholding the breath as the medication actually goesdown into the lungs -- especially with the quickrelief medications -- causes the lungs to relax. The longer you can holdit in there the better," Brock says.

Spacers can help asthma sufferers who find it hard to coordinate thetiming for squeezing the inhaler and breathing in.A chamber holds the mist so patients can breatheit in properly.

Spacers are especially helpful for children andseniors.

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