Metered-dose inhalers (MDI) usually have 3 parts:
If you use your inhaler the wrong way, less medicine gets to your lungs. A spacer device will help. The spacer connects to the mouthpiece. The inhaled medicine goes into the spacer tube first. Then you take two deep breaths to get the medicine into your lungs. Using a spacer wastes a lot less medicine than spraying the medicine into your mouth.
Spacers come in different shapes and sizes. Ask your doctor which spacer is best for you or your child. Almost all children can use a spacer. You do not need a spacer for dry powder inhalers.
The steps below tell you how to take your medicine with a spacer. They are based on instructions from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Breathe in Slowly
Hold Your Breath
Keep Your Inhaler Clean
Look at the hole where the medicine sprays out of your inhaler. If you see powder in or around the hole, clean your inhaler. First, remove the metal canister from the L-shaped plastic mouthpiece. Rinse only the mouthpiece and cap in warm water. Let them air dry overnight. In the morning, put the canister back inside. Put the cap on. Do not rinse any other parts.
Replacing Your Inhaler
For control medicines you take each day, write the date you need to replace it on the canister.
To figure out this date, use the number of puffs you take each day and the number of puffs your canister contains. For example, say your new canister has 200 puffs (number of puffs is listed on canister), and your doctor tells you to take 8 puffs each day. This canister will last 25 days. If you started using this inhaler on May 1, replace it on or before May 25. Write May 25 on your canister.
Do NOT put your canister in water to see if it is empty. This does not work.
Storing Your Inhaler
Store your metered-dose inhaler at room temperature. It may not work well if it is too cold. The medicine in the canister is under pressure. So, make sure not to get it too hot or puncture it.
Metered-dose inhaler (MDI) administration - with spacer
Updated by: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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