An inhaler is a device that is used to administer medication to patients who have asthma. This medical tool contains the asthma medication, which is taken in by the body in aerosol or powder form. An inhaler can be used for emergency purposes - such as an asthma attack - or for maintenance purposes. While asthma is the main condition wherein inhalers are used, these devices are also used to treat other kinds of pulmonary or respiratory conditions.
There are two main kinds of inhalers. The first kind - and perhaps the most commonly one - is called the metered dose inhaler. This kind of inhaler usually has a plastic casing, which holds a metal canister in place. This metal canister contains the actual medication, which is released by pressing the canister down. Each pressing motion will release a pre-measured dose of the medication. Depending on the severity of the patient’s condition and the doctor’s instructions, the canister may be pressed down more than once. When using the metered dose inhaler, the patient must inhale the medication via his mouth. In order to ensure maximum effectiveness, the patient must hold his breath for about 10 seconds upon inhaling.
The second kind of inhaler is the dry powder inhaler. The medication is in powder form and is contained in a chamber, which is called a spacer. This type of inhaler is meant to make it easier for children to use.
Inhalers contain fast-acting medication, which is why those who suffer from chronic asthma carry them around most of the time. Their use is supposed to monitored by doctors.