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How to use a spacer device with your inhaler

How to use a spacer device with your inhaler

Most medications for relieving asthma are very effective when inhaled because the product reaches deep into the lungs directly. However, some people find it difficult to use aerosols or metered-dose inhalers.


What is a spacer?

A spacer is a plastic (occasionally metal) container that is placed between the mouth and a metered-dose spray. Pressing on the metered-dose inhaler releases the medication into the spacer. This can then be inhaled by calmly breathing through the spacer's mouthpiece.

Who can use a spacer?

The spacer can be used by any asthma sufferer in order to make it easier for them to take their medication.
It is particularly useful in cases of serious respiratory problems, because the medication can be taken without a huge amount of effort, even by children and elderly people.

What are the advantages of this device?

It allows asthmatics to overcome difficulties in co-ordination between triggering the metered-dose inhaler with the hand and inhaling through the mouth. It also enables the treatment to be taken easily in cases of respiratory distress.

What is the disadvantage of this device?

The only disadvantage is related to the size of the equipment, which makes it more difficult to transport than an inhaler alone. However, the volume of spacers varies. The most recent spacers are less cumbersome, and some are even flexible and can be folded.

How is it used?

  1. Remove the cap from the inhaler or aerosol.
  2. Shake the aerosol container.
  3. Fix the mouthpiece of the aerosol to the back of the spacer.
  4. Place the spacer mouthpiece in your mouth.
    Close your lips around the mouthpiece, without biting it.
    For infants: Place the face mask over the child's mouth and nose.
  5. Press on the aerosol to release a dose into the spacer.
  6. Breathe in slowly and deeply.
    For children and infants, let them breathe in 10 times.
    If several doses are prescribed, the sufferer takes separate puffs after shaking the metered-dose inhaler between each dose.

What precautions should be taken?

For the plastic spacer:

  • Wash it once a week with a soapy product (such as washing-up liquid)
  • Rinse it thoroughly
  • Do not wipe, but leave to air dry

Spacers improve the efficacy of an inhalation in adults and children alike. There are several types of spacer. Ask your doctor for advice. Before using one, read the directions for use and the manufacturer's recommendations carefully.

Publication date:   10/14/17
Date of modification:  11/29/11
 
 

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