Paediatric 12 Hour First Aid Level 3 (VTQ) - Online Blended Part 1

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Asthma Spacers

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Asthma Spacers: A Comprehensive Guide

Understanding Asthma Spacers

An asthma spacer is a sizeable plastic or occasionally metal device with a mouthpiece at one end and an opening at the other, designed to be used with aerosol inhalers. They facilitate the delivery of a metered dose of medication into the lungs, ensuring precise dosing.

Types of Asthma Spacers

Various types of asthma spacers are available, some equipped with face masks for use with infants. The essential training for using a spacer should be provided by a medical professional.

How Asthma Spacers Work

The medication is loaded into the spacer, where it accumulates. The user then inhales from the spacer, eliminating the need for precise timing and speed during inhalation. Spacers prevent medication from settling in the mouth or throat, ensuring it reaches the lungs.

Spacers enhance drug efficiency by slowing down intake, allowing it to penetrate deeper into the lungs. They are equally as fast as standard inhalers in emergency situations.

Spacers also reduce side effects by minimizing drug absorption into other body parts. They can help reduce side effects like oral thrush, which is particularly common in children using inhalers.

How to Use an Asthma Spacer

While actual user training should be conducted by a medical professional, the basic steps for using a spacer are as follows:

  1. Remove the cap and shake the inhaler.
  2. Insert the inhaler into the spacer.
  3. Breathe out gently as long as comfortable.
  4. Place the mouthpiece between your teeth and lips, creating a seal to prevent medicine escape.
  5. Depress the canister to release one puff of medicine into the spacer.
  6. Breathe in slowly and steadily through the mouthpiece (not forcefully).
  7. Remove the spacer from your mouth and hold your breath for 10 seconds (or as comfortable), then breathe out slowly.
  8. If a second dose is needed, wait 30 seconds, then repeat the steps above.

Alternatively, if holding your breath is challenging, follow steps 1 to 6, and then:

  • Keep the spacer in your mouth with your lips sealed around it.
  • Breathe in and out of the mouthpiece five times.
  • Repeat these steps for each required dose.

When using spacers with children, it's essential to explain the process clearly and encourage their involvement:

  1. Remove the cap and shake the inhaler, allowing your child to assist.
  2. Insert the inhaler into the spacer.
  3. Place the mouthpiece between your child’s teeth and lips, ensuring a secure seal.
  4. Press the canister once to release one puff of your child’s inhaler medicine into the spacer.
  5. Have your child breathe in and out of the mouthpiece five times.
  6. Repeat from step 2 for each inhaler puff, remembering to shake the inhaler before each use.

Cleaning Your Asthma Spacer

Proper cleaning is crucial for maintaining the spacer's effectiveness:

  • Use detergent for cleaning, taking care not to scrub and damage the device.
  • Air dry the spacer.
  • Despite potential cloudiness over time, spacers can last many months.

If you have any questions or concerns, consult your medical professional.

Learning Outcomes:
  • IPOSi Unit four LO7.1, 7.2, 7.3 & 7.4