Asthma spacers are clear plastic tubes that are used with inhalers. They’re also called volume spacers.
A one-way valve in the spacer mouthpiece opens as you breathe in and closes as you breathe out.
Why spacers work
Using a spacer is a more effective way to use your asthma inhaler, as up to 50 percent more medicine reaches your breathing tubes (airways) than with the inhaler alone.
Spacers are as effective as a nebuliser in a severe asthma attack
- Spacers can be used with preventers, relievers and combination type inhalers.
- Some spacers work only with a particular brand of inhaler, and others fit any type.
- Spacers are available free of charge from your doctor or asthma educator.
A spacer makes it easier for people of all ages to use their inhalers, especially when you’re short of breath. Babies and small children use a small volume spacer and mask.
With a spacer, there’s less risk of throat irritation or a husky voice because less medicine is left in your mouth and throat.
How to use a spacer
When you get a new spacer, wash it first in warm soapy water.
Rinse your mouth and spit out or clean your teeth after using a corticosteroid preventer such as Flixotide.
- Shake the inhaler.
- Fit the inhaler into the spacer opening.
- Put the spacer mouthpiece into your mouth and seal your lips around it. If the spacer has a mask, make sure it seals around your nose and mouth.
- Press the inhaler once only.
- Breathe in slowly and deeply through the spacer mouthpiece. Take six normal breaths and take the spacer out of your mouth.
- Repeat these steps if you need more doses.
Caring for your spacer
Wash your spacer once a week with warm water and dishwashing liquid. Don’t rinse it – let it drip dry. This helps stop the medicine from sticking to the sides of the spacer.
Don’t wash your spacer in a dishwasher.