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Using a Metered Dose Inhaler with a Spacer

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A holding chamber or "spacer", such as an Aerochamber® helps your child use a metered dose inhaler (MDI). Metered Dose Inhalers are used to get medicine directly into the lungs where it is needed. This allows the medicine to work quicker than the same type of medicine taken by liquid or pill form. Because this medicine goes right into the lungs, a smaller dose of medicine is used and will result in fewer side effects. When used correctly, an inhaler with an Aerochamber® or spacer can give as good a “treatment” as using a nebulizer machine.  

THE SPACER

  • Makes a metered dose inhaler easy to use.
  • Helps your child to inhale medicine without timing a puff of medicine with breathing in.
  • Helps more medicine get into the lungs where it can work.
  • Decreases the side effects of some inhaled medicines.

HOW TO USE YOUR SPACER WITHOUT A MASK:

  1. Remove the cap from the end of the inhaler. Remove the cap from the end of the spacer.
  2. Insert the inhaler mouthpiece into the round opening in the rubber ring at the end of the spacer.
  3. Holding the spacer and inhaler tightly, shake it 3 or 4 times.
  4. Gently breathe out. Put the spacer mouthpiece in your mouth on top of your tongue. Close your lips and teeth around the mouthpiece.
  5. Spray one puff of medicine into the spacer.
  6. Breathe in slowly and deeply through your mouth over 3-5 seconds. Breathing in too fast will make a whistling sound. This means you must slow down as you breathe in.
  7. Hold your breath for 10 seconds, and then breathe out slowly. Resume normal breathing.
  8. Repeat steps 3-7 for each puff of medicine your doctor prescribes. Remember to wait at least one minute between puffs and to shake your inhaler again before taking the next puff.
  9. After taking your medicine, remove the inhaler from the back of the spacer. Replace the caps on both your inhaler and the spacer.
  10. Rinse mouth and spit out.

HOW TO USE YOUR SPACER WITH A MASK:

  • If using a mask, place the mask on the face so that both the mouth and nose are covered. Make sure you have formed a good seal.
  • Press the inhaler once. The medication will be delivered into the spacer.
  • Breathe in and out slowly and deeply at least 6 times.
  • Remove the mask from the face.
  • Repeat steps 1-4 for each puff of medicine your doctor describes.
  • After taking your medicine, remove the inhaler from the back of the spacer. Replace the caps on both your inhaler and the spacer.
  • Rinse mouth and spit out.

THINGS TO REMEMBER:

  • Vigorously shake your inhaler before using it.
  • Replace your Aerochamber® if the round, rubber end no longer holds the inhaler tightly; or the valve at the mask end of the inhaler does not lay flat or is damaged.
  • Clean your Aerochamber® at least once a week.
  • Remove the dust cover and rubber ring.
  • Soak the Aerochamber® and parts in warm, soapy, water. Do not use cloths to scrub.
  • Rinse in basin filled with warm water. Use gentle motion. Drain water from basin.
  • Lightly shake off water droplets. Allow to air dry.

TIPS:

  • Check the expiration date on the metered dose Inhaler before using it. Throw away inhalers if the date has passed. HINT: Mark this date on your calendar so you remember to replace the MDI before it expires.
  • Follow the dose counter on the side of the inhaler to keep track of the number of sprays.
  • Throw away the inhaler when you have used the recommended maximum number of sprays even if it does not feel empty. It may feel like there is more medicine in the inhaler, but this is just the solution that produces the spray.
  • Mark your calendar for the date you should start using a new metered dose inhaler. Make sure you get refills before the date to throw away the used canister.

Disclaimer:This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.

Reviewed: 10/2017

(757) 668-7000