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Using an Aerochamber®

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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 Aerochamber®

  • 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 Aerochamber®:

  1. Remove the cap from the end of the inhaler. Remove the cap from the end of the Aerochamber®.
  2. Insert the inhaler mouthpiece into the round opening in the rubber ring at the end of the Aerochamber®.
  3. Holding the Aerochamber® and inhaler tightly, shake it 3 or 4 times.
  4. Put the Aerochamber® 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 Aerochamber®.
  6. Breathe in slowly 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.
  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 Aerochamber®. Replace the caps on both your inhaler and the Aerochamber®.

Things to remember:

  • 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.
  • 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. The only way to be sure a metered dose inhaler is empty is to keep track of the number of sprays used.
  • If the MDI is used on a regular schedule you can use this chart to help determine when you should throw it away. 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.

How often to change Metered Dose Inhaler Canisters

# Sprays in canister2 Sprays each day4 Sprays each day6 Sprays each day8 Sprays each day9 Sprays each day12 Sprays each day16 Sprays each day
6030 days15 daysn/an/an/an/an/a
100n/a25 days16 days12 daysn/an/an/a
104n/a26 days17 days13 daysn/an/an/a
112n/a28 days18 days14 daysn/an/an/a
12060 days30 days20 days15 daysn/an/an/a
200n/a50 days33 days25 days22 days16 days12 days
240n/a60 days40 days30 days26 days20 days15 days
If the medication is taken as scheduled, the canister should be thrown away as shown above. Otherwise, the sprays remaining in the canister may not have enough medication.

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: 09/2011

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