Inhaled asthma medications are often delivered using a spacer or chamber. These devices have been shown to improve the delivery of drug directly to the airways.
A spacer is a tube that you place your inhaler – a Metered Dose Inhaler (MDI) into and it holds the medication that is released (with activation of the MDI) until you can breathe it in. Many people do not use their inhaler correctly, or can not coordinate the MDI use, and the medication may collect in the mouth and/or throat.
There are a variety of spacing devices on the market, including sizes available for use with infants, young children and adults. Speak with your health professional to determine which best meets your needs. Review the use of the spacer with your health care professional.
The spacer can be cleaned by soaking in a solution of mild detergent and lukewarm water for 15 minutes. Remove from solution and rinse with water. Shake out the excess water and allow to air dry. Replace the device after 24 months of continuous use.
The Asthma Society recommends that anyone, of any age, using an MDI should consider using a spacer. Spacers are available for purchase from pharmacies.
To use your MDI with a spacer:
- Shake the inhaler well before use (three or four shakes)
- Remove the cap from your inhaler, and from your spacer, if it has one
- Put the inhaler into the spacer
- Breathe out, away from the spacer
- Bring the spacer to your mouth, put the mouthpiece between your teeth and close your lips around it
- Press the top of your inhaler once
- Breathe in slowly until you’ve taken a full breath. If you hear a whistle sound, you are breathing in too fast. Slowly breathe in.
- Hold your breath for about ten seconds, then breathe out
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