Asthma: How to Use Inhalers With Spacers
The treatment of asthma with inhaled medicine is much more effective than with oral medicine. Inhaled medicines also cause far fewer side effects. Asthma inhalers have become the mainstay of treating asthma. The inhalers can also fit in a pocket and be readily available to the teenager with a sudden asthma attack.
A spacer or holding chamber is a plastic tube that holds the puff of asthma medicine released by the inhaler until the child can breathe it in. Most children less than 8 years old cannot coordinate the release of the inhaler and breathing in. A spacer improves the delivery of asthma medicine to the lungs at all ages. In fact, here are some tips for using an inhaler with a spacer correctly:
- First: Shake the inhaler well to get a good mix of the drug and the propellant.
- Second: Place the inhaler into the spacer and press down to release a puff.
- Third: Breathe out completely.
- Fourth: Put your mouth over the mouth piece of the spacer. Breathe in slowly and completely. This action will help the medicine go deep into the lungs.
- Fifth: Hold your breath in full inspiration for 10 seconds. Your goal is to get as much absorption of the medicine into the lung tissue as possible. The most common mistake in inhaler technique is not holding the breath at the end of breathing-in.
- Sixth: Children under age 6 usually need to use the spacer with a mask. If you use a mask, hold it over your child's nose and mouth until he has taken 3 or 4 breaths.
- Seventh: Give a second puff if that has been recommended. Wait 1 minute before taking a second puff. This allows the first puff to open up the airways so that the second puff can go further down and do more good.
- Finally: Spacers have revolutionized the home treatment of asthma. A spacer can double the amount of medicine that gets to the lungs.
If you have other questions about inhalers or spacers, consult your healthcare provider.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 9/1/2009
Last Revised: 10/9/2009 10:52:28 AM
Copyright 1994-2009 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages.