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.
- Remove the cap of the spacer.
- Remove the cap of the puffer. Shake the puffer 5 or 6 times.
- Insert the puffer in the hole at the back of the spacer.
- Sit up with your back straight, or stand up.
- Blow all your breath out until your lungs are empty.
- Seal your lips around the spacer mouthpiece.
- Press the down once on the puffer's canister – this will spray medication into the spacer.
- Slowly breathe in from the spacer until you can't take in any more.
- Hold your breath for as long as you can, (5-10 seconds).
- Take the spacer mouthpiece out of your mouth, and breathe out normally.
- If you need a second puff, wait one minute and repeat these steps.
- 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.
This content was developed and reviewed by the Lung Association's Certified Respiratory Educators.