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Using an Inhaler with a Spacer

To control asthma, you need to use your medications the right way. Some medications are inhaled using a device called a metered-dose inhaler (MDI). Metered-dose inhalers deliver medication with a fine spray. You may be asked to use a spacer (holding tube) with your inhaler. The spacer helps make sure all the medication you need goes into your lungs.

 

Steps for Using an Inhaler with a Spacer

Step 1:

  • Remove the caps from the inhaler and spacer.

  • Shake the inhaler well and attach the spacer. If the inhaler is being used for the first time or has not been used for a while, prime it as directed by the manufacturer.

Step 2:

  • Breathe out normally.

  • Put the spacer between your teeth. Close your lips tightly around it.

  • Keep your chin up.

Step 3:

  • Spray 1 puff into the spacer by pressing down on the inhaler.

  • Then breathe in through your mouth as slowly and deeply as you can. This should take about 5-10 seconds. (If you breathe too quickly, you may hear a whistling sound in the spacer.)

Step 4:

  • Take the spacer out of your mouth.

  • Hold your breath for a count of 10.

  • Then hold your lips together and slowly breathe out through your mouth.

 

Six steps in using metered-dose inhaler with a spacer.

 

If you’re prescribed more than 1 puff of medication at a time, wait at least 30 seconds between puffs. This number may be different for different medications. Shake the inhaler again. Then repeat steps 2 to 4.

Online Medical Reviewer: Akin, Louise, RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Holloway, Beth, RN, M.Ed.
Online Medical Reviewer: Image reviewed by StayWell medical illustration team.
Last Review Date: 5/19/2014
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