Using a Spacer for Asthma Medication
If you have asthma, you likely have a Metered Dose Inhaler (MDI) which you use to take some of the medications which control and prevent asthma symptoms. Some MDI medications are best administered while using a spacer.
What Is a Spacer?
A spacer is a long tube or chamber which attaches to an inhaler. Spacers come in many shapes and sizes. They are most commonly attached to hand held inhalers. However, some spacers are designed to be used with masks. These are usually used for children and by people who need assistance taking their medication. Other names for spacers include spacing devices, aerosol-holding chambers, and add-on devices.
How Does a Spacer Work?
The medication from the inhaler is held in the chamber until you inhale. This slows down the delivery of the medication.
The Benefits of Using a Spacer
Here are some benefits which you may reap by employing the use of a spacer. Spacers are simple enough even for most children to use.
- By having additional time to inhale more fully, you are able to get more of the medication delivered into your lungs. A reduced amount of medication is wasted and you receive the full dose of medication which your health care provider orders. You will experience improved symptom management.
- Less medication is delivered in your mouth. You experience less of the foul taste which some inhaled medications possess.
- Another benefit of using a spacer is that spacer use reduces throat irritation. Irritation from inhaler use sometimes contributes to discomfort and the development of respiratory infections.
- Spacers make inhalers easier and more effective to use.
Are there any Drawbacks to Using a Spacer?
Yes, a spacer is one more piece of equipment which you need to carry if you bring your asthma medications with you when you are away from home. Fortunately, corticosteroids are most often prescribed to be administered once or twice daily, so you will not need to carry your spacer if you are away from home for just a part of the day. Some other drawbacks are:
- You need to learn how to use your spacer correctly.
- Spacers need to be kept clean.
- Not all asthma MDI medications are designed to be delivered via a spacer.
- If you have arthritis or other problems with your hands, shakiness, or coordination difficulties, you may find using a spacer is more difficult than simply using the MDI without one.
Most people find spacers simple to use. They consider the challenges minor when compared with the benefits which spacers provide.
Next Page: How Do I Know If I Need a Spacer and How to Use a Spacer