How to use: Spacers

Do you need a spacer?

Correct inhaler technique is important for managing asthma on a day to day basis. However, studies have found that up to 90% of asthmatics have incorrect inhaler technique. This is dangerous, as using an inhaler wrong can make your medication less effective.
Spacers are a large empty plastic tube used to get the best from your asthma medication. They attach to the mouth piece, and enters the empty tube before being inhaled. Besides making sure you take the correct dosage, spacers provide other benefits. These include:
  • Allowing you to use less medication, through slowing down the dosage of medication inhaled into your lungs;
  • Reducing side effects such as recurring oral thrush and voice changes.

How to use your spacer?

There are two common methods for using a spacer. Ask your health care professional about which you should implement.

Method #1: The Tidal Breath/The Multiple Breath

1. Remove the cap of your medication, and hold your inhaler upright. Ensure there is nothing inside the mouthpiece.
2. Shake your inhaler.
3. Insert the inhaler upright into the spacer, with the indent for your nose pointing upwards.
4. Place the mouthpiece between your teeth (without biting) and use your lips to create a seal so no medicine can escape.
5. Sit or stand straight, with your chin tilted slightly upwards. (This will help the medicine reach your lungs).
6. Breath out into the spacer, and firmly press down on the canister to administer your medication into the spacer.
7. Breath in and out 4-5 times, before removing the spacer from your mouth.
8. If another dosage is needed repeat from step 4.
9. Remove the spacer from your device, and replace the cap.

Method #2: Single Breath/Single Breath and Hold

1. Follow steps 1-5 from above.
2. Exhale into the spacer, and press down firmly on the canister.
3. Breath in slowly and steadily until your lungs are full.
4. Remove the spacer while still holding your breath for 5-10 seconds. (Do not hold your breath to a point where it causes discomfort).
5. If another dosage is needed repeat from step 1.
6. Finally, remove the spacer from your device, and replace the cap.

How to take care of your Spacer?

If you choose to start using a spacer, it is important to follow the necessary steps to take care of it. Making sure your spacer is kept clean and looked after will help increase the efficiency of your medication.
Here are some steps to help ensure your spacer is as effective as possible:
1. Before using a new spacer for the first time, make sure to clean it.
2. Clean your spacer monthly.
3. Wash your spacer with kitchen detergent and allow it to air dry. (Wiping down your space with paper towel or a cloth can cause your medication to stick to the sides of the device.)
4. Wipe your mouthpiece clean with detergent before using it.
5. Get your spacer checked every 6-12 months, by a GP or pharmacist. If you want to purchase a spacer check out the links below, or visit your local pharmacy.