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How To Use A Metered-dose Inhaler With A Spacer


A metered-dose inhaler is a handheld device that delivers a dose of medicine as a mist. You breathe the medicine deep into your lungs to open your airways. A spacer is a tube that attaches to the mouthpiece of the inhaler. The spacer holds the medicine until you breathe in.


How to use an inhaler with a spacer:

  • Remove the caps from your inhaler and spacer. Check to make sure there are no foreign objects in the inhaler mouthpiece or spacer.
  • Insert the inhaler mouthpiece into the spacer.
  • Shake the inhaler to mix the medicine.
  • Breathe out fully. Place the spacer mouthpiece between your lips.
  • Press down on the canister. Then, breathe in slowly.
  • Hold your breath for about 10 seconds. Breathe out slowly.
  • Repeat if more puffs of medicine are needed.

Care for your inhaler and spacer properly:

Put the caps back on the inhaler and the spacer after each use to keep the mouthpieces clean. Clean the spacer as directed at least once a week.

Follow up with your primary healthcare provider (PHP) or specialist as directed:

Bring your inhaler and spacer to all of your visits. You may be asked to use your inhaler at these visits so your PHP or specialist can make sure you are using it correctly. Write down your questions, so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Contact your PHP or specialist if:

  • You usually take more puffs from the inhaler than your PHP or specialist says you need.
  • You run out of medicine before your next refill is due, or sooner than your PHP or specialist says you should.
  • You feel like your medicine is not controlling your symptoms.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Return to the emergency department or call 911 if:

  • Your lips or nails turn blue or gray.
  • The skin between your ribs or around your neck pulls in with every breath.
  • You feel short of breath, even after you use your inhaler.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.