Media Releases

On World Asthma Day it’s time to check your inhaler technique

7 May 2024

The National Asthma Council Australia has released two new instructional videos for adults with asthma and also parents of children with asthma for World Asthma Day on 7 May 2024.

The first video focuses on the use of a pressurised metered dose inhaler (puffer)* and spacer for adults with asthma. The second video demonstrates the correct way to use a metered dose inhaler, spacer and face mask for children with asthma.

Associate Professor Debbie Rigby, Clinical Executive Lead, National Asthma Council Australia said a metered dose inhaler can either be a prescribed corticosteroid preventer or a reliever.

Up to 94% of patients do not use their inhaler device correctly, which could mean they don’t get the full dose of their asthma medicine.

“However, with the right technique, the medicine gets where it needs to.

“One important step is using a spacer with your metered dose inhaler, whether you are an adult or a child, as the spacer helps the medicine get down into the very small airways where it is most needed. Otherwise, medication may remain in your mouth and the back of your throat.

“Incorrect inhaler technique can increase the risk of severe flare-ups and hospitalisation for people with asthma and incorrect use of inhaled corticosteroids can also increase the risk of side-effects like a hoarse, raspy throat or oral thrush,” said Associate Professor Rigby.

Associate Professor Rigby said that for adults, poor inhaler use can be affected by older age, cognitive impairment, multiple devices and lack of training.

For children with asthma aged under four years, it is especially important that a small volume spacer as well as a tightly fitting face mask is used.

“The spacer holds the medication so the child can take as many breaths as needed to inhale it and with babies and young children, a face mask is also attached to the end of the spacer, as it can be difficult for young children to just use the spacer alone.

Associate Professor Rigby said that it is easier to learn how to take medication and stick with your treatment when someone shows you how.

“The new videos have an instructor explain and demonstrate the correct device technique for the patient first, followed by the patient repeating the same steps as instructed.

The National Asthma Council Australia’s how-to video library has a comprehensive collection of asthma, COPD and allergy medication device technique videos that demonstrate the correct technique for using each device and have been viewed over 300,000 times.

Associate Professor Rigby said on World Asthma Day, people with asthma can help to better manage their asthma by:

  • Regular six-monthly asthma check-ups
  • Following your personal written asthma action plan developed together with your doctor
  • Using your medicines wisely — tell your doctor if you have been using your reliever puffer more than two days a week or are having asthma symptoms at night
  • If you have been prescribed a preventer medicine, make sure you use it - even if you feel well
  • Check with your GP, pharmacist or nurse that you are using your puffer or inhaler device correctly or view the National Asthma Council’s ‘how-to’ videos online.

*Please note – the new videos are for pressurised inhalers only, not dry powder inhalers or soft mist inhalers.

The National Asthma Council Australia (NAC) is the trusted authority in asthma management and care in Australia and sets the standards through evidence-based guidelines for primary health professionals.

World Asthma Day is an initiative of the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) and the theme for 2024 is “Asthma Education Empowers”.

For further information or an interview with a NAC spokesperson

please contact: Donna Le Page, Le Page PR Mobile: 0412 797 937

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