Video: How to use a spacer with tidal breathingUsing a spacer with your inhaler can reduce your symptoms and side effects. We show you how to get it right in this short video.
0:00 Hi, I’m Sonia, a respiratory physiotherapist. Using a spacer with your inhaler means more of the medicine gets down into your lungs and it’s a great way to manage your symptoms. Getting the technique right is very important. It may take a few tries to feel comfortable using a spacer, but it does get easier with practice. I’m going to show you how to use an inhaler with a spacer using what’s called ‘tidal breathing’ or the ‘multiple breath’ technique. This is usually recommended if you can’t hold your breath for 5 seconds after using your inhaler or if you’re having an asthma attack. If your doctor or nurse has suggested a different technique called ‘single breath and hold’, watch our other video. If you’re helping a baby or a child use a spacer, watch our videos on children and spacers. To use your inhaler with a spacer using a tidal breathing technique: First, hold your inhaler upright and take the cap off. Check there’s nothing inside the mouthpiece. Shake the inhaler well. If your spacer has a valve, make sure the valve is facing upwards. Put your inhaler into the hole at the back of the spacer. If your spacer has a cap, take it off. Sit or stand up straight and slightly tilt your chin up as this helps the medicine reach your lungs. The next steps all happen smoothly in one action. Put your lips around the mouthpiece of the spacer to make a tight seal and begin breathing in and out. Press the canister on the inhaler once, and breathe in and out steadily into the spacer five times. Remove the inhaler and spacer from your mouth. If you’ve been prescribed a second puff, with the spacer away from your mouth wait 30 seconds to a minute and shake the inhaler again. Then repeat the steps. Some small volume spacers make a whistling sound if you’re breathing in too fast. If you’re using a large volume spacer like this one, you can use the same breathing technique. With tidal breathing your spacer should make a clicking sound as you breathe in and out. When you’ve finished, take your inhaler out of the spacer and replace the caps on both the inhaler and the spacer. If you’ve used an inhaler that contains steroids, rinse your mouth with water and spit it out to reduce any chance of side effects. Remember, you can get more top tips on using your inhaler and spacer by watching our other videos.
This video is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you find it hard to use your inhaler, or find breathing problems are interfering with your daily life and sleep, see your GP. If you are having an asthma attack right now or cannot breathe normally and your blue reliever inhaler isn't helping or if you don’t have one, please call 999 for an ambulance. Asthma + Lung UK does not endorse nor recommend specific products. See our general disclaimer.