How to Properly Use Dry Powder Inhaler

As a family caregiver, it's important to know how to properly administer medication. We've created a cheat sheet to help you use metered dose inhalers with confidence. Learn more in our latest blog post.

How to Properly Use Dry Powder Inhaler
Photo by Mockup Graphics / Unsplash

As a dedicated caregiver, you often find yourself in situations where you need to assist with medications. In response to the needs of countless family caregivers, we've crafted a handy cheat sheet to help you navigate the proper usage of Dry Powder Inhalers (DPIs).

Understanding Dry Powder Inhalers (DPIs)

Dry Powder Inhalers are devices designed to deliver medication directly into the lungs. They are commonly used to manage respiratory conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Here's your step-by-step guide to using DPIs effectively:

Step 1: Hand Hygiene

Before handling any medication or medical device, always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Proper hand hygiene is essential to prevent contamination.

Step 2: Prepare the Inhaler

  1. Hold the DPI upright with the mouthpiece at the top.
  2. If your loved one has a cap on their DPI, remove it carefully and set it aside. Check if there are any specific instructions regarding cap removal.

Step 3: Load the Medication

  1. Look for the medication blister or capsule, depending on the type of DPI. Follow the instructions provided with the medication to ensure correct loading.
  2. Most DPIs require you to puncture the blister or open the capsule inside the device. Follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully.

Step 4: Breathe Out

  1. Instruct your loved one to exhale completely to create space for the medication.
  2. Ensure they do not exhale into the DPI device.

Step 5: Seal the Lips around the Mouthpiece

  1. Encourage your loved one to form a tight seal around the mouthpiece with their lips.
  2. Make sure they do not bite or chew on the mouthpiece.

Step 6: Inhale Deeply and Rapidly

  1. Instruct your loved one to take a fast and deep breath in through the mouthpiece.
  2. Emphasize that they should not exhale back into the device.

Step 7: Hold Breath and Count

  1. After inhaling the medication, your loved one should hold their breath for as long as comfortably possible. This allows the medication to reach deep into the lungs.
  2. A common guideline is to hold the breath for about 10 seconds.

Step 8: Exhale Slowly

After the breath-holding period, your loved one should exhale slowly and steadily, ensuring that no air escapes through the device.

Step 9: Replace the Cap

If your DPI has a cap, instruct your loved one to replace it securely to protect the device from dust and contamination.

Step 10: Rinse Mouth (If Required)

Some medications may leave a taste in the mouth. If needed, your loved one can rinse their mouth with water to alleviate any unpleasant taste.

Step 11: Clean and Store the DPI

  1. After each use, it's essential to clean and store the DPI as per the manufacturer's instructions.
  2. Store the device in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight or extreme temperatures.

Final Tips for Caregivers:

  • Always follow the healthcare provider's and manufacturer's instructions precisely.
  • Keep track of medication schedules and refills to ensure your loved one receives their treatment consistently.
  • If you or your loved one have any concerns or experience difficulties with the DPI, don't hesitate to reach out to the healthcare provider for guidance.
  • Regularly check the expiration date of the medication and DPI device to ensure they are still effective.

Remember, your role as a caregiver is vital in helping your loved one maintain their health and well-being. By mastering the use of Dry Powder Inhalers, you're providing valuable support in managing their respiratory condition.