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Do you use a spacer (aerochamber)?

For people with asthma treated with an inhaler  - do you use a spacer or aerochamber?  (Comment below)

At your next appointment, have your health care provider check your "inhaler technique". It can be tricky to get it right, and this can affect your asthma health.  

Consider asking for a spacer or aerochamber. This can help increase how much medicine gets into your lungs. Everyone with asthma who uses an inhaler can benefit from using a spacer.

I didn't learn that adults can benefit from spacers until I was in my late 20s, and I wish I had known sooner. 

Here's more information:  

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Comments 16

  • K8sMom2002

    A pharmacist is actually the one who told me about a spacer. I do wish that there was a wider variety of collapsible compact spacers. The inhaler is not that big or bulky to carry, but adding a spacer makes it bulkier. 

  • Brian Cushing

    I always use a spacer with my inhalers. My spacers are rigid, but I used to have one that was an 'accordian-like' tube that would compress into a smaller space. I looked on shopnebulizer.com; they do seem to have a couple of spacers that might work for you. One is a 'micro-spacer' – very short and compact; and the other actually collapses. You might check those out. 

  • Kathy P

    Welcome Brian! I used to have a collapsible holding chamber. I can't recall the brand, but it was a circular "puck" type thing that collapsed. You had to take the med cylindar out of it's plastic thing and insert that directly into the chamber. Once they started adding counters to the inhalers that were attached to the med cylinder, those wouldn't work with that chamber anymore. That Micro Spacer looks pretty cool!

    I currently don't use any spacers – but all of my inhalers are dry powder (DPI). My preventative is Advair. But when I did a (failed) trial of Dulera, the do sent me home with with a holding chamber.

    I recently switched from the MDI version of albuterol to the ProAir Respiclick. I actually like it much better. I don't have to carry a chamber/spacer.

  • K8sMom2002

    Thanks, Brian! That  looks totally doable — even with the inhaler, it would fit into a small space. I still use Ventolin, but my DD's pedi wanted her to try Respiclick, which doesn't require a spacer. Then her allergist moved her back to Ventolin! 

  • Brian Cushing

    Thanks for your reply! I unfortunately am one of the few people who cannot use LABA's like Advair or Dulera; they increase my mucus production to the point where any dilation benefit is offset by the increase in airway obstruction from the mucus. If you do well on LABA's, congratulations! They are the first line of asthma defense these days for many patients. I'd like to hear from any others who might be unable to tolerate LABA's; what do you do instead to manage your asthma? 

  • K8sMom2002

    Brian, it sounds as though we have a lot in common — my asthma is considered well-controlled most of the time until I get an upper respiratory infection. At that point, all bets are off, and I have to really work to get things back to baseline. 

    A few important things that I do:

    • Avoid my !
      • Whether it's perfume, cigarette smoke, hay, exercising during cold weather or being around someone who is sick with a cold, I try very hard to prevent my asthma triggers from flaring up my asthma. 
    • Get my every year.
      • The flu would be a disaster for me — I've had it, and it's no fun at all!
    • Get my . 
      • This was the first year that I got my pneumonia vaccine. My doctor suggested it back in the spring when I came down with a nasty bout of pneumonia following something that for everyone else was just a cold. I thought the pneumonia shot was for older people, but people like me with asthma should talk to their doctor about getting it.
    • And of course I wash hands like a crazy person, and if someone is sick, I don't go around them. 
  • Brian Cushing

    Yes, I follow essentially the same 'rules.' I avoid everyone who is visibly sick (even loved ones!!) I also avoid smoke of any kind and I don't dust or use the vacuum without a face mask. I get a flu shot every year in October and I have had two pneumococcal pneumonia shots. I also run a HEPA filter in my sleeping space.

    I am also a hand sanitizer fanatic! I use it after I touch anything or anyone new, and especially after grocery shopping, pumping gas, or using the ATM! It's important, I think, to understand that people don't stay home today when they are sick. Most can't afford to, they're out 'doing their business' anyway, and simply touching something they've touched and then touching your face is a sure way to get a respiratory infection that will likely then lead to asthma sensitivity. That's important, too – you have to train yourself to not touch your face! A recent study showed that the average person touches his or her face 3.6 times per hour. 

  • Kathy P

    Yes, I'm glad I am tolerate the LABA's. I can definitely tell the difference without them. I'm not sure if any other members are unable to tolerate them, but encourage you to start a new topic to ask or you can post on the thread where many of our members hang out.

  • Jen

    Hi Brian,

    Welcome to the asthma forum.  Thanks for all of the tips!

  • K8sMom2002

    Brian, how are things going? Have you run into any problems because you aren't able to tolerate the LABAs? My mom had to come off hers after she was diagnosed with glaucoma, so I know that not everyone is able to use them. 

  • Brian Cushing

    I use a Aerochamber Z-Stat; it has a built-in 'whistle' that tells you when you're breathing in too fast. It's easy to clean, but the downside is it's pretty bulky. I used to have a simple 'accordion' tube that worked well; it would collapse into an easy-to-carry size. 

  • Jen

    Brian – Since it's bulky, do you take it with you when you're out and about?

  • Kathy P

    I've been trying the ProAir Respiclick for my albuterol which is a dry powder inhaler (DPI) and does not require a spacer. I like better than the metered dose inhalers (MDI) since I usually don't carry a spacer/chamber around with me. You can activate the dose, then take a long slow inhale. I'm finding it works as well, if not better.

    Anyone else try the Respiclick?

  • K8sMom2002

    Brian, I just read your reply about the Aerochamber Z-Stat "whistling" if you were breathing in too fast. Now that, I think, would definitely help me. I get really impatient when I'm using my inhaler. I guess when you're having trouble breathing, you want everything to hurry up. 

    Thanks for sharing — your tips are always so helpful!

  • Jen

    @Brian Cushing - Which spacer do you take with you when you're out and about?