MDI Spacer - Adult

How to Use a Puffer with a Spacer (Also Called a Valved Holding Chamber)

It is recommended that you use a metered dose inhaler (also known as an "MDI" or "puffer") with a spacer (valved holding chamber).

A spacer is a plastic tube that holds the spray from your puffer (inhaler). You spray your puffer into the spacer, and then slowly inhale the air from the spacer. Using a spacer improves your chances of getting the more medicine into your lungs.

How to Use a Spacer With a Mouthpiece

Watch a video on how to use a spacer with a mouthpiece. 

  1. Remove the cap of the spacer.
  2. Remove the cap of the puffer. Shake the puffer 5 or 6 times.
  3. Insert the puffer in the hole at the back of the spacer.
  4. Sit up with your back straight, or stand up.
  5. Blow all your breath out until your lungs are empty.
  6. Seal your lips around the spacer mouthpiece.
  7. Press the down once on the puffer's canister – this will spray medication into the spacer.
  8. Slowly breathe in from the spacer until you can't take in any more.
  9. Hold your breath for as long as you can, (5-10 seconds).
  10. Take the spacer mouthpiece out of your mouth, and breathe out normally.
  11. If you need a second puff, wait one minute and repeat these steps.
  12. Rinse your mouth out with water and spit the water out (don't swallow it). Rinsing your mouth can cut down on some side effects, like a white coating on your tongue (a yeast infection called thrush) or a sore throat.
References: 

This content was developed and reviewed by the Lung Association's Certified Respiratory Educators. 

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Page Last Updated: 12/10/2016