How to use an inhaler with a spacer and mouthpiece :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

How to use an Inhaler with a Spacer and a Mouthpiece

Learning how to properly use an inhaler with a spacer and mouthpiece for asthma ensures the medicine gets deposited into the lungs. Incorrect technique can leave some of the particles from the medicine on your tongue or throat, where it is useless. Inhalers spray the medicine out so that you can breathe it deep into the lungs. A spacer, or holding chamber, is an attachment that should always be used with your inhaler. The spacer holds the medicine in place so you can breathe it in easier. If you have any further questions about inhalers, spacers or mouthpieces contact your doctor's office, asthma care team or pharmacy.

Video Transcript

Metered dose inhalers, which are also commonly called “puffers or inhalers”, spray the medicine out so that you can breathe it deep into the lungs.

Inhalers deliver medicine very quickly.

Inhalers are compact and light– so they can be easily taken with you wherever you go.

It’s very important to use your inhaler the correct way to make sure the medicine gets deposited in the lungs, where it works the best. Incorrect technique can leave some of the particles from the medicine on your tongue or throat, where it won’t help at all.

A spacer, or holding chamber, is an attachment that should always be used with your inhaler.

The spacer holds the medicine in place so you can breathe it in easier.

Now let’s demonstrate how to correctly use a spacer and mouthpiece.

First, remove the cap from the bottom of your inhaler.

When you get your new inhaler from the pharmacy, you need to “prime” or “waste” it  by spraying the medicine into the air 4 times.

Now, fit your inhaler into the opening at the end of the spacer.

Shake the inhaler well for 10 seconds.

Turn your head to the side and breathe out.

Close mouth around mouthpiece of spacer.

Push down on the inhaler once. Now the medicine is inside the spacer.

Right away, take a slow, deep breath.  The goal is to not hear a whistling sound.  If you do, this means that you’re breathing in too fast.

Hold your breath for a count of 10.

Now, slowly breathe out.

Rinse your mouth out with water, or brush teeth, or get a drink after using controller medicines, such as inhaled steroids.

Many times, the correct dose of your medicine will be to inhale 2 puffs. If this is what is prescribed for you, then wait one minute after the first puff, and then follow all of the steps again.

Clean the plastic holder of the inhaler each week.  For inhalers with a built-in counter do not remove the metal canister.  Use a cotton swab to clean the opening where the medicine sprays out of the canister.  For inhalers without a built-in counter, run warm water through it, shake off water and set overnight to dry.

Clean the spacer each week by soaking in warm soapy water for 15 minutes and run water through it, shake off water and set overnight to dry.

Remember if you have questions, call your doctor’s office, asthma care team or pharmacy.

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