Using a Metered Dose Inhaler (MDI) with a spacer

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A inhaler spacer and inhaler

Metered Dose Inhaler (MDI) - Commonly called a pump or puffer

  • When the inhaler is pumped, it gives just the right amount of medicine with each pump
  • A spacer should always used when taking this medicine
  • An inhaler can travel with you when you leave home

Spacers are always used with metered dose inhalers. It helps slow down the speed of the medicine so it can get into the lungs and not to other parts of the body.

Preparing to take an inhaler with a spacer

Step 1: Wash your hands!

wash hands 
Step 2: Remove the cap from the mouthpiece of the metered dose inhaler  inhaler with removed cap 
Step 3: Look in both ends of the spacer for any objects that don’t belong there  look in both ends of the spacer 
Step 4: Shake the MDI  shake the inhaler 
Step 5: Put the mouthpiece of the MDI into the end of the spacer  mouthpiece of inhaler in spacer 

Using an inhaler with a spacer

Step 1: Take a deep breath in and blow the air out of your lungs  deep breath in and out 
Step 2: Put the mouthpiece of the spacer in your mouth and wrap your lips around tightly  spacer in mouth 
Step 3: Squeeze one puff of the inhaler into the spacer  squeeze puff 
Step 4: Breathe in slowly through the mouthpiece until you can’t breathe in anymore (if you hear a noise from the spacer, take a slower breath)  breathe in  
Step 5: Remove the spacer from your mouth, close your mouth, and hold your breath for 10 seconds  hold breath 
Step 6: Blow the air out of the lungs  blow air out 
Step 7: Repeat steps 1 to 6 for every puff you take  repeat steps 

How to clean a spacer

  • Remove the inhaler from the spacer.
  • If possible, take the pieces of the spacer apart.
  • Soak (do not scrub)the pieces of the spacer in warm soapy water for 10 minutes.
  • Rinse the spacer with warm water to remove any leftover soap.
  • Let all the parts dry completely before putting the spacer back together.
  • Wash at least once a week.

Special instructions:

  • One spacer can be used for all of your metered dose inhalers. You do not need a separate spacer for each inhaler.
  • A spacer should last at least one year.
  • Check your medicine to make sure it is not expired.
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