Inhalers: I always have difficulty... - British Lung Foun...

British Lung Foundation

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I always have difficulty knowing when my Salbutamol inhaler is empty and was given a tip to help me establish how full the container was.

Simply pull the container off the holder and put it in a glass of water.

If it sinks to the bottom, then it's full.

If it floats, then it's totally empty.

Floating somewhere between the bottom and the top gives an indication of how much is actually remaining.

It works, and I find it very helpful to know where I'm up to as I'm getting older and more forgetful.

Well worth a try.

21 Replies

I was given that tip too but I also weigh them. I know what they weigh when new and every so often if I think they are running low. Have the little flat electronic scale, very accurate.


You would think they would make them with a counter. They make most of the inhalers with a counter. Just not the one you use the most

that's a god tip - thankyou xx piggi

Ticks me off that even the newer inhalers don't alwasy have counters on them. When I start my ciclisonide I have to work out how many actuations there are and devide it by the number of times a day I have to use it and then work out when it needs to be replaced and put the date on.


Hidden in reply to cofdrop-UK

Maybe but all the inhaler I have had. Have had counters in them only the blue inhaler dose not. Or I have have ones you pierce the capsule so you always know how many puffs you have left

popsie in reply to Hidden

Yes, Amanda, It's only the Blue one that is the problem, the other one that I use does indicate how many puffs I have left.

Having been given this tip I have now cleared my shelf of partly used Blue puffers. I hope you find it useful Wonderful!


redted in reply to cofdrop-UK

I do the same and then put the renewal date on the calendar,I always start the new one the day before anyway.


That's an excellent tip...I shake mine...which doesn't tell me a thing!


Wow I have the same trouble too with my inhaler. This is a great way to tell so thanks very much for posting it. x

I just take the aerosol out of its holder and give it a shake. You can feel if there's anything in it, or not.

Hanne62 in reply to peege

I just shake mine too, but I always keep a spare of everything "just in case"

popsie in reply to Hanne62

Hi Hanna,

I tried shaking it too, but as I'm a little deaf, I can't hear it at all.

My wife can, but she has other things to do.

I'll settle for floating.

Thanks for the comment though.

peege in reply to popsie

Ah Popsie, I do it by feel rather than listening. You can feel the slurping backwards and forwards.

Hanne62 in reply to peege

Me too peege! I'm partially deaf but just go by the feel of it. Hard to explain how. I've got 4 & none has a counter, but have been using them 45-odd years so am used to it.

Splendid tip. Many thanks for passing it on.

Great tip I very often go to use mine & find it has run out then frantically search for another one. I will try all your tips.

Thank you


You can get counters in USA

but as they are more expensive than the ventolin, the NHS probably think its cheaper to throw away half used ones than check how much is left.

ericwood992 in reply to kris123

I look at it another way kris - the NHS is desperately short of funds and MUST consider the cheaper alternatives as a priority. Counters are convenient but do cost extra. I, like Snodgrass, use a simple electronic scale to weigh the Ventolin phial. Throw them away at 20gms. (Full they are 30gms). You in the States are used to having the choice; and paying for it!

Will try this thank you.

I weigh mine, comparing the weight against a new one. I can hear if there is something in there when shaking it but of course not how much of course.

hello popsie, I will try this as only get one inhaler every 56 days but doesn't water go inside it? just wondered xxx

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