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What Are the Different Types of Inhalers?

An asthma inhaler.
An illustration of the pathology of asthma.
Article Details
  • Written By: K. Gierok
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 16 March 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Inhalers are often prescribed for individuals who suffer from conditions that restrict breathing, such as asthma, COPD, or even emphysema. For patients to achieve the best results with their inhalers, it is important that they find the style of inhaler that works best. While there are numerous different types of these machines, the most common include dry powder inhalers, which, as the name suggests, use medication that has been ground into a powder and which must be inhaled manually. In contrast, metered dose inhalers and nebulizers are types of inhalers that contain medication in either liquid or steam form, and which are typically much easier to use for the elderly, ill, or the very young.

One of the numerous types of inhalers are dry powder inhalers. Dry powder inhalers are a type of inhaler that does not require the use of a propellant in order to provide the patient with the medication needed. Instead, the patient who requires the medication must simply take a large, fast, deep breath in order for the medication to be released to the patient. Patients who use dry powder inhalers must remember to avoid exhaling too deeply upon using the inhaler. Doing so can expel the medication that has just been inhaled. Often, this type of inhaler is recommended only for adults due to the fact that it can, at times, be difficult to use.

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The most common types of inhalers are metered dose inhalers. As the name suggests, metered dose inhalers consist of pre-measured amounts of pressurized medications that are housed in a small canister. Metered dose inhalers are a popular choice not only due to their small size, but also due to their ease of use. Unlike dry powder inhalers, metered dose inhalers don't require skilled breathing techniques. Since they are so easy to use, they are often recommended for children and those with the most severe breathing problems.

Nebulizers are another of the types of inhalers that work best for children, the elderly or ill, or those who require excessive amounts of medication, as it allows the patient who is using the nebulizer to breath naturally. Nebulizers are a type of machine that converts liquid medications into mist or steam. Typically, patients who use a nebulizer are required to place a large face mask or mouthpiece on their face in order to inhale the medication. It is important that the face mask or mouthpiece fits the specific patient in order to provide the best results possible.

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