A spacer is a specially designed plastic tube for use with a puffer inhaler.
A spacer used with a puffer delivers more medication into the lungs than using a puffer on its’ own.
When used with preventer medication the spacer helps to prevent thrush of the throat and mouth, by reducing the amount of medication that comes in contact with the back of the throat.
Using a spacer makes co-ordination easier.
Spacers can also be very helpful during an acute asthma episode as they are just as effective as a nebulizer.
Because spacers are made of plastic, when they are new they hold a lot of static. So before using for the first time it is necessary to prime a spacer. First take it apart & wash in warm soapy water (using washing up liquid). Washing up liquid has been shown to be an effective agent in reducing static.
Instructions for use
Repeat 1-4 for each further puff required.
A spacer is an effective way of getting reliever medicine into the breathing tubes when someone is having an acute asthma episode. If you have difficulty pressing the inhaler hard enough to release a dose of medication, ask your Practice Nurse, GP, or Pharmacist about a Haleraid. This device is available free of charge.
Both children and adults benefit from using a spacer when taking their puffer inhaler.
Show your child how the puffer and spacer work before putting it near his/her face.
Demonstrate on yourself (without pressing the puffer). Do not use one of your child’s toys as the child may worry that the toy is sick. Plan medication times as part of the normal routine, fitting in with regular activities such as meal times.
At medication time, make sure inhaler and spacer are ready to use. Tell your child that it is time for the puffer. They should not be given a choice about having it. However, providing a choice as to where they can sit, or whether they want to hold the spacer etc, will give the child a feeling of control over the situation, and so aid co-operation. When using the spacer, count out loud as the child breathes and breathe with them to encourage breathing control.
Remember that arguing with a pre-schooler is tiring, frustrating, and pointless! If your child is not co-operating, then ignore the behaviour and abandon the task, without a word. Wait until all is calm and your child is occupied with other things, then try again. Reward co-operative behaviour with praise and cuddles. Some children respond well to sticker or star charts when trying to establish a new behaviour (avoid getting into the habit of handing out sweets, chocolates and new toys as rewards – children come to expect this and will not co-operate without them.)
If all else fails, the child will get some benefit from being given the medication whilst asleep!