Inhalers: Spacers with Mask

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Many medicines that help make breathing easier are taken by an inhaler. The inhaler must be used correctly or the medicine will not get into the lungs. If the medicine does not get into the lungs, your child may not feel better or may have side effects.

A spacer is a device that holds the medicine from the inhaler until the person starts to breathe in. When the person breathes in, the medicine is pulled into the lungs.

There are many types of spacers that may work a little differently. These instructions cover the type of spacer used at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. If your spacer is different than the one described here, ask your doctor, nurse, respiratory therapist or pharmacist how to use it. Follow the directions for the spacer your doctor recommends.

Always use a spacer, no matter what your age.

How to insert the inhaler into the spacerHow the inhaler fits on the faceCleaning the spacer in a bowel of water with soap

How to Use

  1. Remove the cap from the inhaler.
  2. Check to make sure the spacer is clean.
  3. Put the mouthpiece of the inhaler into the rubber opening at the end of the spacer (Picture 1).
  4. Hold the spacer and inhaler firmly. Shake briskly for 10 seconds.
  5. Place the mask gently to the face so the nose and mouth are covered. Be sure to get a good seal between mask and face. Leaks will keep you from getting enough medicine. The valve lets you breathe out comfortably and breathe normally while the mask is held firmly in place.
  6. Press down firmly on the inhaler to release only one puff of medicine (Picture 2).
  7. Breathe in and out slowly 6 to 8 times.
  8. If your doctor has ordered more than one puff, wait at least 60 seconds and repeat steps 4 through 7.

Cleaning the Spacer with Mask

  1. About once a week, remove the rubber ring from the end that holds the inhaler.
  2. Either place in the dishwasher on the top rack or soak the spacer and rubber ring in a bowl filled with warm water. Use a dish soap detergent to loosen any dirt. Do not use a washcloth or brush to clean it.
  3. Rinse in a bowl of clean, warm water, using a gentle motion (Picture 3). Do not use running water. Water pressure could ruin the valve in the spacer.
  4. Lightly shake away extra water and leave on a clean surface to air-dry. Do not dry by rubbing with a cloth.
  5. Make sure the spacer is completely dry. Attach the rubber ring and mouthpiece cap.

Inhalers: Spacers with Mask (PDF)

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