Skip to content

    Asthma Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Metered Dose Inhalers for Asthma

    What is a metered dose inhaler with a spacer ?

    Inhaled asthma medications are often delivered by using a device called a metered dose inhaler, or "MDI." The MDI is a small aerosol canister in a plastic holder that delivers a puff of medication to the lungs.

    To help make it easier for your child to use the MDI and ensure the delivery of medication gets into the lungs, your child may use a spacer chamber (with or without a mask) with the MDI. The purpose of the spacer chamber is to hold the medication released from the MDI so that your child has the time to more effectively inhale the medication. These devices are recommended for all children who have difficulty coordinating breathing and the use of the inhaler correctly (particularly children less than five to six years old).

    Recommended Related to Asthma

    How to Use an MDI Inhaler Without a Spacer

    Take the cap off your inhaler and shake it well. Hold the inhaler with your index finger on top of the canister and thumb on the bottom of the plastic mouthpiece. Sit up straight or stand up. Tilt your head back slightly and breathe out all the way. Open your mouth wide, and place the inhaler about 2 inches in front of your mouth. (Or you can put the MDI in your mouth, between your teeth, tongue flat under the mouthpiece with your lips sealed.) Breathe in and out one time. Press...

    Read the How to Use an MDI Inhaler Without a Spacer article > >

    The contents of an MDI are under pressure and are released quickly, making it difficult to coordinate inhalation of the particles. The spacer chamber suspends these particles until your child breathes in, reducing the amount of coordination required to inhale the particles, thus easing the delivery of medication into the lungs. Adults should also use a spacer chamber, especially if they have problems using the MDI. Spacer chambers can also reduce the deposition of particles in your mouth or tongue and therefore may reduce side effects from medications. Spacer chambers should not be used with a dry powder inhaler (DPI).

    1 | 2 | 3

    When Is Your Asthma Worse?

    When Is Your Asthma Worse?

    Take the WebMD Asthma assessment to get Personalized Action Plan

    Start Now

    Today on WebMD

    Lung and bronchial tube graphic
    5 common triggers.
    group jogging in park
    Should you avoid fitness activities?
     
    asthma inhaler
    Learn about your options.
    man feeling faint
    What’s the difference?
     
    Madison Wisconsin Capitol
    Slideshow
    woman wearing cpap mask
    Article
     
    red wine pouring into glass
    Slideshow
    Woman holding inhaler
    Quiz
     
    Man outdoors coughing
    Article
    Lung and bronchial tube graphic
    Article
     
    10 Worst Asthma Cities
    Slideshow
    runner
    Article