Scary Inhaler Accident Sheds Light on the Danger of Carrying One in Your Purse

inhalerA 41-year-old woman in Australia using her inhaler for asthma ended up in the emergency room after she inadvertently ingested an earring. While it sounds crazy, this bizarre accident could happen to any of us because of a couple of common inhaler mistakes we're probably not aware of.


As soon as she started wheezing, the woman pulled the inhaler from her purse where it had been stored without its cap -- her first mistake. When she heard a rattle inside, she just assumed there was a loose connection within the device and never thought to inspect it before putting it to her lips -- another big no-no.

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A heart-shaped earring that was also inside her handbag had become lodged inside the inhaler and ultimately ended up stuck in her right bronchus, which is one of the two main airways that lead from the windpipe into the lungs. Immediately after inhaling, she felt a scratch at the back of her throat. She then began coughing up blood and her wheezing worsened, causing her to rush to the hospital. Terrifying, right?

Doctors say while this is highly unusual, patients should receive more information about how to maintain their inhalers. Always keeping the cap on is a must, they say. Even if you place it in your pocket without covering it you run the risk of inhaling dust and lint. Keeping it uncapped also exposes the inhaler to all sorts of bacteria, doctors agree. 

Inspecting your inhaler before each use is also a great way to ensure no foreign objects have found their way inside the device.

Moms who carry inhalers for their children should definitely take note. This is also really important information to pass on to your kids if they keep them in a backpack at sporting events or in their pockets when they're out without you. Chances are they wouldn't think to give theirs a proper inspection either!

Fortunately, this woman received the necessary treatment in time and made a full recovery. We think it's safe to say she'll never leave that inhaler uncapped again and neither will we after reading her story. 

Have you ever experienced a problem with an inhaler? 

Image ©wavebreakmedia/shutterstock

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