How To Use A Spacer With An Inhaler?

Using a spacer with an inhaler can greatly enhance the effectiveness of your asthma medication, ensuring that you receive a full dose and minimizing the risk of side effects. But how exactly do you use a spacer? In this article, we will guide you step-by-step on how to use a spacer with an inhaler, making it easy for you to incorporate this device into your asthma management routine. From assembly to inhalation technique, we will cover all the essential information you need to know. So, let’s get started on maximizing the benefits of your inhaler with a spacer!

What is a spacer?


A spacer is a device that is used in conjunction with an inhaler to help improve the delivery of medication into the lungs. It is a tube-like extension that attaches to the inhaler and acts as a holding chamber for the medication, making it easier to inhale and ensuring that a larger amount of the medication reaches the lungs.


The purpose of using a spacer is to overcome the challenges associated with using an inhaler alone. Inhalers require coordination between pressing the canister and inhaling, which can be difficult for some individuals, especially children or those with limited dexterity. A spacer helps to overcome this issue by allowing the medication to be released into the chamber, where it can be easily inhaled at a more convenient pace.

Advantages of using a spacer

There are several advantages to using a spacer with an inhaler. Firstly, it improves the effectiveness of the medication by ensuring that more of it reaches the lungs. Secondly, it reduces the risk of side effects, as using a spacer helps to minimize the amount of medication that is deposited in the mouth and throat, reducing the likelihood of local side effects such as hoarseness or thrush. Lastly, it makes inhalation easier and more convenient, particularly for individuals who find it challenging to coordinate the act of pressing the canister and inhaling at the same time.

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Types of spacers


The Aerochamber is one of the most commonly used spacers available. It consists of a chamber with one-way valves at both ends, which allows the user to inhale the medication while preventing the backflow of air. The Aerochamber is available in different sizes to cater to various age groups, including children and adults. It is easy to use and has been well-researched, making it a popular choice among healthcare providers.


The Volumatic spacer is another widely used spacer that offers similar functionality to the Aerochamber. It is a larger device that can hold more medication, making it suitable for individuals who require higher doses or longer inhalation times. The Volumatic also has one-way valves to ensure effective delivery of medication into the lungs and is available in different sizes to accommodate different age groups.


The OptiChamber is a compact and collapsible spacer that offers convenience and portability. It is designed with a low resistance valve system, making it easier to inhale medication. The OptiChamber also has an anti-static feature that helps to reduce the adherence of medication to the inside of the chamber, allowing for improved drug delivery.


The InspiraChamber is a unique spacer that has an ergonomic design, making it easy to hold and use. It features an open design that allows visibility of the valve movement during inhalation, providing feedback to the user. The InspiraChamber is available in different sizes and can be customized with various mask options to suit individual needs.

Choosing the right spacer

Consulting with your healthcare provider

When selecting a spacer, it is important to consult with your healthcare provider. They can provide guidance on the most suitable spacer based on your specific needs, such as age, medication, and inhaler type.

Considering the inhaler type

Spacers are designed to be compatible with different types of inhalers. It is essential to consider the type of inhaler you are using and ensure that the spacer you choose is compatible with it. Some spacers may be specifically designed for a particular brand or type of inhaler, so it is crucial to check the compatibility before purchasing.

Checking the compatibility

Apart from considering the compatibility with your inhaler, it is also advisable to check for additional features or accessories that may be required. Some spacers may offer interchangeable masks or mouthpieces, allowing for customization and enhanced comfort. It is essential to ensure that these additional features are compatible with your specific requirements.

Considering portability and convenience

If you lead an active lifestyle or frequently travel, it is important to consider the portability and convenience of the spacer. Look for a spacer that is compact, lightweight, and easy to carry. Some spacers may come with a carrying case or attachment options, making them easier to transport and ensuring that you can use your inhaler effectively wherever you go.

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Preparing the inhaler and spacer

Wash hands thoroughly

Before handling your inhaler and spacer, it is important to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. This helps to minimize the risk of any potential contamination and ensures the cleanliness of the devices.

Remove the cap from the inhaler

Remove the cap from your inhaler, if applicable. Ensure that the canister is securely attached to the inhaler and that it is not expired. If there is a dose counter, make sure it indicates that there are doses remaining.

Shake the inhaler if needed

Some inhalers require shaking before use to ensure proper mixing of the medication. It is essential to refer to the instructions provided with your specific medication and shake the inhaler if instructed to do so.

Insert the inhaler into the spacer

Attach the inhaler to the designated opening of the spacer. Ensure that it is securely connected and properly aligned. This step may vary depending on the type of spacer you are using, so it is important to refer to the instructions provided with your spacer.

Using the spacer with an inhaler

Prepare for inhalation

Before using the spacer and inhaler, take a few normal breaths to prepare your lungs. This helps to ensure that you are in a comfortable position to inhale the medication effectively.

Form a good seal with the spacer

Place the mouthpiece or mask of the spacer in your mouth, ensuring a tight seal around it. This helps to prevent any medication from escaping and ensures that you are inhaling the medication directly into your lungs.

Breathe out gently

Exhale gently and completely, making sure to remove all the air from your lungs. This creates space in your airways to effectively receive the medication.

Press the inhaler and breathe in slowly

Press down on the canister of the inhaler once, releasing one dose of medication into the spacer. As you press the canister, start breathing in slowly and deeply through your mouth. This allows the medication to mix with the air and be inhaled into your lungs.

Hold breath for 10 seconds

Once you have finished inhaling, hold your breath for about 10 seconds to allow the medication to settle in your lungs. This helps to ensure maximum absorption and effectiveness.

Repeat if necessary

If instructed by your healthcare provider or if prescribed more than one dose, repeat the above steps for each dose. Make sure to wait the appropriate amount of time between doses, if required.

Cleaning and maintenance

Disassemble the spacer

After each use, disassemble the spacer by removing any detachable parts, such as the mask or mouthpiece. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to properly disassemble your specific spacer.

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Wash the spacer with mild soap and warm water

Wash the spacer with mild soap and warm water. Use a clean brush or a soft cloth to gently clean the inside and outside of the spacer. Avoid using harsh cleaners or abrasive materials that may damage the spacer.

Allow spacer to air dry

After washing, rinse the spacer thoroughly with water and allow it to air dry completely. Ensure that all parts are completely dry before reassembling and storing.

Store spacer in a clean and dry place

Once the spacer is completely dry, reassemble all the parts and store it in a clean and dry place. It is important to keep the spacer away from any direct sources of heat or moisture that may damage the device.


Improper technique

If you are not experiencing the desired results or are struggling to use the spacer effectively, it may be due to improper technique. Ensure that you are following the instructions provided and that you are using the spacer correctly. If you are unsure, consult with your healthcare provider for guidance and further instructions.

Clogging of the spacer

Over time, the spacer may become clogged with residue from the medication. If you notice any obstruction in the spacer, such as blockages or a decrease in airflow, it may be necessary to clean the spacer more frequently or replace it altogether. Consult with your healthcare provider for further advice if you encounter any issues with your spacer.

Damage or wear of the spacer

Inspect the spacer regularly for any signs of damage or wear. If there are cracks, holes, or any other visible damage, it may compromise the effectiveness of the spacer. In such cases, it is important to replace the spacer to ensure optimal delivery of medication.

Frequently asked questions

Can spacers be shared between different inhaler users?

No, spacers should not be shared between different inhaler users. Sharing a spacer can increase the risk of spreading infections or germs. Each individual should have their own dedicated spacer for personal use.

How often should the spacer be cleaned?

It is advisable to clean the spacer after each use to maintain hygiene and ensure the effectiveness of the device. Regular cleaning helps to remove any residue or build-up that may interfere with the delivery of medication.

Can any medication be used with a spacer?

Most medications used with inhalers can be used with a spacer. However, it is essential to consult with your healthcare provider or pharmacist to ensure that the specific medication you are using is compatible with a spacer. Some medications may require a different type of spacer or may not be suitable for use with a spacer.

Can children use spacers with inhalers?

Yes, spacers can be used by children to improve the administration of medication through inhalers. In fact, spacers are particularly beneficial for children, as they help overcome the challenges associated with coordination and inhalation. It is important to select a spacer that is appropriate for the child’s age and consult with a healthcare provider for proper guidance.


Using a spacer with an inhaler can significantly enhance the effectiveness and convenience of medication delivery for individuals with respiratory conditions. Spacers offer advantages such as improved drug delivery to the lungs, reduced side effects, and easier inhalation technique. When choosing a spacer, it is important to consider factors such as compatibility with the inhaler, consultation with a healthcare provider, and portability. Proper preparation, usage, and maintenance of the spacer are also essential for optimal results. By following the recommended techniques and guidelines, individuals can effectively incorporate spacers into their respiratory care routine, leading to improved medication outcomes and overall well-being.