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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Confused by which inhaler to user?

There are a LOT of asthma medicines out there, and they can all be confusing. Especially now since they make maintenance (or controller) inhalers that look the same as quick relief (or rescue) inhalers. How are you supposed to know which inhaler you use EVERY day, and which inhaler you use if you're HAVING AN ASTHMA ATTACK?! Web md has a section on their website that explains the difference between controller and quick-relief inhalers.

But I like to SEE what the different inhalers look like, and the Minnesota Department of Health's Asthma Program has a brand new poster that shows all the different asthma medications. It's not actually the size of a poster, but you can print off an 8 1/2" x 11" poster or a 11" x 17" poster.

You can print these out to use at home, or school nurses or doctor's offices can use them too.

The poster has the inhalers separated into types of inhalers. You can see on the 2nd photo where there's a red bar that goes across the top of the poster, that section has relievers/rescue inhalers. Those are inhalers you use if you are having an asthma attack.

The other blue sections are controller/maintenance medications. Those are inhalers that you use every day. It's important to use them every day, since you can't feel inflammation or swelling in your lungs.

Print these out and tape them up where you can see them. Or you could even give a copy to your school nurse, day care provider, etc.

What a nice resource to be able to have! Thank you Minnesota Department of Health!!


  1. Posters like this are great. It helps people better understand which of their inhalers are meant to be a daily "asthma controller" and which are for "rescue." One can get into trouble if they are mixed up. Also helps to keep from wasting an inhaler for the wrong use.

    1. Stephen, thanks for stopping by! Yes, many people are confused because the inhalers LOOK the same, but are a different color. But we know they have VERY different uses!

      I hope this helps people figure out which inhaler they should use daily, and which is a rescue inhaler!!

  2. I guess I just never found that to be confusing. Maybe my son benefits from my life long asthma, cause I'm very aware just by the names what the inhalers are for, even if they were all exactly the same, shape , color and size I'd still know.

    1. Hi Jillian, I know what you mean. It's easy for me too, I can see someone else's inhaler and tell you the name of it and if it's a controller or quick relief. But we've had a LOT of inhalers of the years.

      Many people just deal with asthma sporadically and struggle with knowing which one to take. I meet people all the time who are puzzled by the different options.

      This will be a great resource for them. Even my asthma doc's office has a poster displaying different inhalers. It does make a pretty picture when you see the rainbow of colored inhalers!

  3. Very interesting article! I shared this article with a few of my patients recently and they enjoyed it greatly. its very helpful information about asthma inhalers.Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Martin,thanks for stopping by! It's always worth looking for new information for asthma. After 13 years, I still find new things to help take care of my teenager's asthma!!

      I am happy to share what I find :)