What are inhalers and how do they work?

What are inhalers and how do they work?

Asthma is a long-term disease of the lungs. If you have asthma, your airways may become congested, swollen, and produce more mucus. Breathing may become difficult as a result, and you may have shortness of breath, coughing, or wheezing when you exhale. Asthma currently has no known cure, however medication can help manage the symptoms so you can lead a regular, active life.


Inhalers are the main treatment for Asthma. An inhaler is a medical device used to deliver medications into the lungs through the process of breathing. 

Inhalers can be useful:

  • To soothe or relieve the symptoms when they do arise (reliever inhalers)
  • Stop the onset of symptoms (preventer inhalers)
  • Some people require an inhaler with both functions (combination inhalers)

Reliever Inhaler

The majority of asthma patients will be prescribed a reliever inhaler. Typically, these are blue. Ventolin is an example of a reliever inhaler.

When symptoms arise, you use a reliever inhaler to treat them. The muscles in your airways are instantly relaxed by your relief inhaler, allowing you to breathe more freely. Your relief inhaler may save your life if you experience an asthma attack.

You should always have your reliever inhaler on hand so that you can use it as soon as any symptoms appear. If you need to use your relief inhaler three or more times per week, let your doctor or an asthma nurse know

These inhalers can have a few side effects. They can produce trembling or a rapid heartbeat for a few minutes after usage.

Preventer Inhaler

You could also require a preventer inhaler if you frequently use a relief inhaler. You use a preventer inhaler on a daily basis to lessen the sensitivity and inflammation of your airways, which prevents the occurrence of your symptoms. It’s crucial to use it even if you are symptom-free.

Inhalers for prevention use steroid medication.

Although they often do not have negative effects, they may result in:

  • An oral fungal infection (oral thrush)
  • a sore throat and 
  • a hoarse voice

By using a spacer; a hollow plastic tube that you attach to your inhaler, as well as by rinsing your mouth out after using your inhaler, you can help avoid these side effects.

Combination Inhaler

You might require an inhaler that combines the two if combining reliever and preventer inhalers does not control your asthma.

Combination inhalers are used on a daily basis to assist prevent symptoms from happening and to offer effective relief if they do.

Even if you don’t have symptoms, it’s still necessary to use it frequently.

Combination inhalers have side effects that are similar to reliever and preventer inhalers.

If the inhalers are not reducing your symptoms, speak with your doctor or an asthma nurse. If your asthma is severe, they might recommend extra therapy, such as tablets; other treatments might also be required.


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