If you carry an asthma inhaler, get ready to go green in 2009. On Dec. 31, albuterol rescue inhalers will no longer be powered with chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which damage our ozone layer. Instead of CFCs, hydrofluoroalkane (HFA) will be used.

You may actually already have an HFA-powered inhaler, since the phase-out of CFC-powered inhalers has already begun. But if you haven’t yet made the switch — or have switched, but been puzzled by the way these new inhalers work, here are some tips from the Associated Press:

  • Expect a softer puff. You’re still getting the medicine.
  • Clean the hole weekly by following the instructions that came with your inhaler, since the stickier HFA can clog up inhalers more often.
  • Never get the whole device wet.
Unfortunately, these new HFA-powered inhalers do cost more, which health officials worry will make people skimp on drugs or switch to less-effective over-the-counter inhalers. If you’re financially strapped, check albuterol manufacturers’ websites for free samples and coupons:
Stay healthy in the new year!

Photo via proairhfa.com

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