Inhalers contain two main medicines

Bronchodilators (blue inhalers). These medicines open up the airways. They are used to treat the child when they are wheezy.

Steroid (brown inhalers). Steroids reduce lung inflammation. They need to be taken REGULARLY twice a day. Using them now and again is a waste of time and can lead poor asthma control.

Serotide (purple inhalers) contain both bronchodilators and steroids. They also need to be used REGULARLY twice a day.

Inhaler types

Metered-dose inhalers (MDI) deliver a SPRAY.  You can’t just spray the medicine into your mouth as it won’t get down into your lungs. You must use MDI devices with a SPACER, no matter how old you are.

Small volume spacer*

Large volume spacer*

Another type of inhaler delivers a POWDER into your lungs when you breathe in (Turbuhaler, Diskhaler, Spinhaler). These are usually only suitable for older children and adults.


Patients requiring more information and advice about their asthma may wish to look at the Asthma UK website.