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Download the Spacers – What You Need to Know PDF.


Many asthma medications come in a small metal canister called a metered dose inhaler (MDI). The inhaler expels the medication in a fast, short burst. It is recommended that you use a spacer (holding chamber) with your MDI. There are many different types of spacers. Your health care provider can prescribe and show you how to use the one that is best for you.

If your health care provider has given you one quick relief inhaler and one long-term controller inhaler, it is important to know which one to use when.


When possible, use a spacer with your metered dose inhaler. A spacer is a plastic tube that connects to the mouthpiece of an inhaler and helps get medication deeper into the lungs and airways. It helps direct the medication to the airways so that each dose of medication is more effective.

Clean your spacer and MDI each week to prevent the buildup of medication:

  1. Take the spacer apart (as recommended by manufacturer’s instructions)
  2. Wash each piece separately with warm, soapy water
  3. Do not rinse
  4. Let dry on a clean, lint-free towel

Some spacers have a delicate, soft valve disc under the mouthpiece. Do not rip off the disk. If the disk begins to harden or curl, replace your spacer.

How to Use Your MDI with a Spacer

  1. Remove all food, candy and gum from your mouth.
  2. Stand up straight.
  3. Remove the cap from your inhaler and spacer. Make sure to clean out any dust or fuzz so that there is nothing inside either one.
  4. Shake the inhaler for 5 seconds.
  5. Place the inhaler into the spacer.
  6. Take a deep breath in and out.
  7. Put the spacer in your mouth and seal your lips tightly around the mouthpiece.
  8. Press down on your inhaler and take a long, slow breath in.
  9. Hold your breath for 10 seconds, and then breathe out.


This content is provided for informational purposes only and does not substitute for medical advice.