Treatments and tests

How to use a turbuhaler

Turbuhalers can be used by children over 8, and adults.

  1. Unscrew the cap of the turbuhaler anticlockwise and lift off.
    hands removing cover of turbuhaler
  2. Hold the turbuhaler upright. Load it by turning the coloured base of the turbuhaler to the right as far as it will go.
    Hand turning the coloured base of turbuhaler
  3. Then twist it back to the left until it clicks. It is now loaded.
    hand twisting base of turbuhaler back
  4. Breathe out gently, away from turbuhaler. Hold the turbuhaler without covering the air inlets and put the tip of the mouthpiece between your lips. Be sure you make a good seal. Breathe in quickly and deeply through your mouth and hold your breath for 5–10 seconds.
    child breathing in through turbuhaler
  5. Remove the turbuhaler from your mouth and breathe out. Replace the cap and screw it shut.
    image of turbuhaler

If another dose is required, repeat steps 1 to 5.

Note: you will not get more than one dose at a time.

You must inhale the medicine before loading the device again.

How can I tell when the turbuhaler is empty?

The Symbicort brand of turbuhaler has a dose counter which counts down from 120, the last 20 doses appear in red.

Image of dose counter of turbuhalerA red image in the dose counter window of turbuhaler

Other turbuhalers have a clear window. A red dot appears in the window on the side of the turbuhaler when there are only 20 doses left.

Note: the rattling you hear when you shake the turbuhaler is the drying agent built into the coloured base. It is not the medication. The rattling noise can be heard even when the turbuhaler is empty.

How should you look after a turbuhaler?

  • Avoid breathing into the turbuhaler, moisture will cause the device to become clogged.
  • Avoid getting your turbuhaler wet – keep it in a dry place.
  • Keep the lid screwed on tight when you are not using the turbuhaler.
  • Wipe the mouthpiece with a dry tissue if required.


Child and Adolescent Health Service – Community Health (CAHS CH)

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

Link to HealthyWA Facebook page