Asthma inhalers are a fast, convenient way to deliver medications to relieve the symptoms of asthma. Inhalers are the preferred method of dispensing both broncho-dilators such as albuterol, which act rapidly to open bronchial tubes and allow the patient to breathe easier; and anti-inflammatories such as salmeterol, which work over time to reduce inflammation of the airways. If you have asthma you may have multiple inhalers and may keep them in a variety of places, such as a purse, gym bag or on the bedside table. In order for your inhaler to work properly, you should observe a few precautions when storing it.
Replace the cap on the inhaler after each use. This keeps dust and dirt off the mouthpiece, and keeps anything from getting into the inhaler and blocking the action.
Store your inhaler in a clean environment. You might want to keep a rescue inhaler in your gym bag or backpack so that it’s handy, but sharing space with your dirty gym socks isn’t healthy for you or the inhaler. Instead, put your inhaler in a sealed zip-top bag. It will still be handy when you need it, but it will always be clean.
Keep the inhaler away from extremes of heat and cold. The glove box of your car might seem like a handy place to store an inhaler, but the extreme heat and cold the inhaler will be exposed to in your car can change the composition of the medication and render it ineffective. The patient information sheet for one form of albuterol, brand name Proventil, cautions that at temperatures above 120 degrees the inhaler could burst. (Reference 2) The manufacturers of Proventil recommend storing it at temperatures between 59 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit, and this is a good range to keep in mind for all inhalers.
Your inhaler should be at room temperature before you use it. If it's cold, warm it in your hands. Never try to warm it with a match or under running water.