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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Inhaler-rescue vs maintenance

(Allergy and Asthma Network Mothers of America)

Do you ever look at a poster like this and think "huh? I'm confused!"

Join the club. It seems a lot of people are confused, there are discs and inhalers. So what do you use and for what? All the discs I have seen are for maintenance medication, so you use them every day.

But what about metered dose inhalers? They look the same, except for color, so which ones are used for every day (maintenance or controller medications) and which are used for when you are having problems breathing (rescue or emergency inhalers)?

It's hard to tell a difference, Son #2 has two inhalers, one is Advair (so he uses it every day) the other is Xopenex, so he uses it when he's having problems breathing. One is purple, one is blue. Hubby can't tell the difference, as much as I love him, he wouldn't know what to do if Son #2 was in trouble.

I know some companies are developing stickers to put on inhalers. The Utah Asthma Program is working with pharmacists to develop stickers to put on inhalers. A green strip sticker could be for everyday (green means go) and a red sticker could be for the emergency inhaler (since red means stop or danger.)

Until then, I whip out a black marker and write on the inhaler "controller" for the every day inhaler and "emergency" for the rescue inhaler. That way, not only do the kids know which is which, but Hubby will too (just in case someone panics-not that any of us have EVER panicked during an asthma attack)

Has anyone else found a good way of marking your inhalers to tell them apart? I would be interested to see what other people have found that help.


  1. I only have 1 inhaler, a ventolin blue one, but people don't know what to use if I'm having trouble breathing - is it this 'blue squirty thing' or the nasal spray? Of course, I know which one, but as I'm not always in a position to say, I have used a marker pen to draw on a warning symbol to show this is for emergencies.

    1. Indie, good idea! It's important that everyone around you know that you have asthma and what to do if you have a sudden asthma attack and need help!

      I'm glad you have good friends that can take care of you!

    2. That was my old account. I'm now on Seretide 50/25 (Advair 45/21) which of course is small and purple, while I've got an IVAX Salamol reliever which is small and blue. I worry that people won't know which is which, like they'll pick up my Seretide and go "oh well that's blue-ish" and squirt that at me…I like the sticker idea though.

    3. Lizzi,

      Do whatever you need to so people can help you out if you need it.

      My rescue inhaler is red (ProAir) and my maintenance inhaler is blue (Dulera)

      I know the difference between the two, but many people still get confused with their inhalers!