Asthma Spacer and Holding Devices: How To Improve Your Inhaler

Asthma spacers and holding chambers can take your asthma treatments to the next level. 

If you have trouble with your inhaler, then these simple devices might be right for you.  Inhalers are an important part of an asthma treatment regimen. They are used both with quick relief and long-term medications. They deliver asthma medicine in aerosol form and provide quick relief from breathing problems. But they are only effective if the full dosage is taken into the lungs

What Is An Asthma Spacer Or Holding Chamber? 

Many asthmatics do not get the full benefits from their inhalers because of poor lung strength.  They find their  inhalers are hard to use. Sometimes it is difficult for them to coordinate breathing and pressing the inhaler at the same time. 

Asthma spacers or holding chambers  are intended for use with metered-dose inhalers (MDI). They have valves that prevent medication loss that can occur during inhaler use.  By allowing air to flow through the chamber only during inspiration, more medication is delivered to the lungs. They come in different shapes and sizes and are available by prescription.

Holding Devices Improve Medication Delivery

A spacer is a device that is meant to make an inhaler easier to use. They remove the need for coordination, enhance medication delivery, and decrease  the medication that is left in the mouth and throat. This makes the medication work more effectively and reduces the side effects. 

Some people such as the very young and old cannot inhale deeply so they lose part of the medication when they pressed the inhaler. The Asthma Society of Canada recommends that anyone who has trouble with an inhaler consider using a spacer. Ask your doctor if this device is a possibility for you or your family member.

Spacers Are Elderly And Child Friendly 

Many children have trouble using inhalers. Sometime they lack the strength to pull in the asthma medication. During an asthma attack, their lungs tend to weaken and they lack the energy to pull in medication from an inhaler. 

Many elderly and children can benefit from these devices.  For many elder with asthma, an inhaler with a spacer or holding chamber is be easier to use and more effective. It is particularly useful for babies and small children who do not have the coordination to use an inhaler by itself. Many pediatric asthma spacers have a small mask that fits onto the mouthpiece so treatment can be given when a child is playing or sleeping.

Any Device Should Complement Your Asthma Plan

With self-monitoring, you can tell if a nebulizer helps you to better manage your asthma symptoms. There are several brands of spacer device available. Each spacer device fits different inhalers and so it is important to get the right devicer for your inhaler. The inhaler mouthpiece should fit onto the spacer with ease. 

Many people use a higher dose than prescribe to relieve breathing problems. They believe that if one puff work, then two is better. This is wrong. A higher dosage of medication can lead to deadly complications. Common side effects from over usage are anxiety, palpitations (irregular heartbeats), and tremours. 

How To Use Your Device

Spacers are simple devices that are easy to use. Proper use is essential to treatment. Basically it involves the following steps: 

1. Shake the inhaler well before each use - Remove the cap from your inhaler and spacer. Put the inhaler into the spacer. If you haven't used the inhaler in a while (a few days or more)  spray it into the air to get a full dosage of the medication.

2. Breathe out – Exhale and empty your lungs as much as possible.

3. Bring the spacer to your mouth - Put the mouthpiece between your teeth and close your lips to form a seal.

4. Press the top of your inhaler once - Spray one puff into a spacer at a time to get a proper dosage of medication. 

5. Breathe in very slowly - Take a full breath and hold your breath for about ten seconds.  If you need another dose from your inhaler, wait 30 seconds, and then repeat steps 4 to 7.

After each use, you should clean the spacer according to the instructions that come with it. Basically, it is best to remove the parts and wash it with warm soapy water. Rinse the parts well and let them air dry.

Spacers can make it easier for many asthmatics to receive their medication.  They are available by prescription and should be replaced every 6 to 12 months. You can check your technique with your doctor, practice nurse or pharmacist. Always read the label and use it as directed. You can also use it as part of an asthma management plan to ensure that you or your family receives a full asthma treatment.

Feature Article:

 Asthma Management-Top Asthma Products To Make Your Life Easier 

More Information
On The Safest Asthma Treatments

Many people with asthma find fewer complications when they find a management plan that really works. Read The SAFE Asthma Treatment Guide and discover the four steps to controlling asthma.  

With a little help from your doctor and the right plan of action, you can control your wheezing so that you can breathe easier.

And remember … any asthma treatment prescribed by a physician should always be taken as ordered, even if there are no symptoms. Your doctor is the gatekeeper to keeping you healthy.

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