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A spacer is a large plastic or metal container that helps to deliver medicine to the lungs. Spacers make the inhaler easier to use and reduce the risk of side effects.

A) How to use spacer

  1. Remove caps from inhaler and spacer. Shake inhaler and insert into back of spacer.
  2. Breathe out gently. Place mouthpiece of spacer in mouth.
  3. Press inhaler canister once to release a dose of the medicine.
  4. Take a deep, slow breath in. If you hear a whistling sound, you are breathing in too quickly.
  5. Hold breath for about 10 seconds or as long as is comfortable.
  6. Remove spacer and breathe out.
  7. To take another dose, wait 30 seconds then repeat steps 1-6.

NB. Please refer to manufacturer’s instructions for the 'multiple breath technique'

B) How to use spacer with mask – for young children

  1. Remove cap, shake inhaler and insert in back of spacer.
  2. Place mask of spacer over mouth and nose of child and ensure there is a good seal.
  3. Encourage child to breathe in and out slowly and gently.
  4. Once breathing pattern is established, press inhaler canister and keep it in same position as child continues to breathe in and out slowly five more times.
  5. To give another dose, wait approximately 30 seconds then repeat steps 1-4.


A nebuliser is a machine that creates a mist of medicine, which is then breathed in through a mask or mouthpiece.

They are more commonly used to give high doses of reliever medicine in an emergency situation, for example in hospital or a doctor's surgery, but are no more effective than an inhaler and spacer for treating most asthma attacks.

If you have your own nebuliser it is important to have it serviced regularly and keep it in good working order.