Spacer issues...: Hi :) I've started... - Asthma UK communi...

Asthma UK community forum
13,000 members18,609 posts

Spacer issues...

Hi :)

I've started to notice that when I press my inhaler once it's in my spacer some of the stuff from the inhaler escapes out the back, if that makes sense! Sorry I'm not sure how to explain it properly! It's kind of like what you'd see if you didn't use an inhaler properly and were looking in a mirror. I checked the seal between my inhaler and spacer and it seems fine and there's nothing broken or cracked or anything. I'm just guessing that some of the preventer isn't supposed to escape. I watched a youtube video and I am using it correctly. My asthma nurse didn't explain anything about it so maybe I am doing something wrong or missing something, I've had to teach myself. I'm sure anyone who's read my other threads will know my asthma nurse failing to expain something is nothing new!

Anyway any ideas?

Also, another quick question; was my asthma nurse correct in saying that I should ignore any symptoms unless there serious for six months since that's how long the preventer takes to work? What I've read on the internet says different but then she's seen my medical history and I have had lung issues (and what I now suspect were mild asthma attacks and chest infections) all my life so it'll take a while to settle down. My phone's playing up and it took it ages for it to let me create this thread!

Thanks :)


13 Replies

I have this with my spacer! I don't know why it happens, but you're not the only one - I wondered as it seems like you're not going to be getting as much and surely with a spacer you're meant to get more? I'll be interested to hear what others have to say about this.

I've read your other posts mentioning your asthma nurse - she does sound a bit rubbish tbh! btw I hope that yesterday was a good day for you results-wise - and if you are heading off to uni soon you might have a better asthma nurse.

6 months sounds a pretty long time to me, and I don't think you should be ignoring symptoms - even if not serious, they'd suggest you need better control and that's a long time to struggle. I've heard more like 2-3 weeks to start to work, maybe a couple of months to get to the best you're going to be on that medication, and my consultant when he wanted to really see what Symbicort did for me gave it three months (and it was starting to work within three weeks). Basically I think you should give it some time (though haven't you been on it a while now?), but if it's been a couple of months and you're still having problems, taking a lot of reliever etc go to the GP (not the nurse in this case from what you've said!), as you'd probably need something different, or something adding, at that point.


Lol, I thought that too, that's why I've asked! Why use something that's made to give you more when you'll get less?!

Yesturday was a brilliant day! I'm off to Bradford uni on the 16th sept :) I plan to make an appointment with the new asthma nurse and just ask him/ her to explain everything to me that I should have been told. I have a full piece of A4 with all the questions! I've been using it for 11 weeks now. It's not that I'm using the reliever a lot since I'm never really sure how bad symptoms should be before I use it so most of the time I don't (sorry!) it's just that I am still getting symptoms. I kept a pf diary when it got bad and I used the reliever twice a day and my had dropped from 400ish to 350. It's difficult though becuase I've had symptoms all of my life and so have taught myself to ignore them so the very fact that I do notice all the time suggests that the preventer is working since I must be getting symptoms less frequently in order to notice them. I may have to see the nurse since routine GP appointment are 3/4 weeks wait.

BTW, I love your signature! I'm thinking of doing research into the effects of doritios and dips...


Congratulations! You must be really looking forward to it - btw there is info on this site and also on the FB page Big Up Your Chest which is aimed at 18-25 yr olds and includes advice about uni - worth a look. Some of it will be about very severe asthma but it should cover all ranges.

Crossed fingers you get a better asthma nurse and maybe shorter waits for appts - 3/4 weeks is ridiculous! Any good asking them for a quicker one, say you really do need to discuss your asthma with a dr? It doesn't have to be same day but even just next week - you may not be 'urgent' but really you should be getting things sorted, maybe adding a long-acting reliever, sooner than 3/4 weeks and I'm not convinced your asthma nurse is going to do anything useful from the sound of it - she might just repeat what she said before! If you're not sure about this, ring the adviceline here - if they tell you 3/4 weeks is fine, then ok, you can wait (though from previous experience I suspect they won't); if they tell you to go sooner, you can tell your surgery that Asthma UK told you to get an appt sooner!

Thanks re signature - hehe. I'm sure doritos are good for asthma...


I'll pop in on monday and talk to the receptionist. Is there another AUK number which isn't freephone do you know? I can only really call off of my phone and for some reason my phone contract says I have to pay for free calls. I would really rather wait till I'm at uni than see that nurse tbh! Then again, I think you're right in that she wouldn't do anything so seeing her would be the same as waiting till I get to uni! Lol, I wish I could tell them that and get a sooner appt! Unfortunately all but one receptionist believe that they know everything. I had to get into an argument when I tried to make a second appt for the asthma nurse. They didn't think that her saying six weeks was a good idea, they thought it should be eight! On the plus side, they go in for seeing the same doctor all the time in a big way, which means I would get an appointment with good-looking doc :) He stood next to me when the olympic flame came through the town since we ended up watching it from right outside the surgery :) Did not know where to look!

Thanks :)


hehe why does everyone except me have these amazingly good-looking drs? I always find it a bit awkward seeing them outside the surgery/clinic - I think I'd prefer to think they just live in the cupboard there lol.

Re the calls: I once forgot and dialled an 0800 number from my mobile and the message said I'd have to pay but it would be free if I dialled 800 then the number not 0800 - not heard that otherwise though and didn't check.

A bit of googling found this site though: A pain as you have to dial another number first, but better than paying esp as you want to be able to talk to the adviceline as long as is necessary without worrying about cost.


hehe why does everyone except me have these amazingly good-looking drs? I always find it a bit awkward seeing them outside the surgery/clinic - I think I'd prefer to think they just live in the cupboard there lol.

Re the calls: I once forgot and dialled an 0800 number from my mobile and the message said I'd have to pay but it would be free if I dialled 800 then the number not 0800 - not heard that otherwise though and didn't check.

A bit of googling found this site though: A pain as you have to dial another number first, but better than paying esp as you want to be able to talk to the adviceline as long as is necessary without worrying about cost.

Thanks I'll have a look at that site. Definitely not paying 30p a minute when I have 500 unused minutes for free!

Haha I like the image of a doc living in a cupboard. I can just see them poking their headout as the surgery opens!

I watched my spacer work tonight and I swear I didn't get any of rude stuff that came out my preventer!

Could you answer another quick question please? Is it normal for me to suffer after forgetting to use my preventer for just one day? I forgot yesterday (I had far too much on my mind!) and have been suffering a lot today. My chest physically hurt when I was breathing which it has never done before. It must have been caused by asthma since my reliever got rid of it. Sorry to ask loads but you are so knowledgeable!

Thanks :)


lol no worries about questions, though I don't always feel that knowledgeable esp when it comes to what my lungs do (but then I'm in good company there as my consultant has said he doesn't really understand mine either lol). I think I've just absorbed a few things from being on here, like medication stages (BTS/SIGN guidelines) and the fact that generally having symptoms means you need to do something and you shouldn't just think you have to put up with it, but mostly I prefer to tell people to see someone/ring the adviceline.

Definitely not going to claim expertise here - maybe something to ask the asthma nurses on the adviceline? - but I'd have thought (from what I've read about them) if your preventer was doing its job properly missing one day, while not ideal, shouldn't make a huge difference like that. To me it sort of suggests that the preventer is not really keeping things under control very much to start with and just underlines the fact that you need to ignore your asthma nurse on this and go back so they can sort out what's going on and maybe change things around/add something. Being a bit of a pain in the arse (politely, of course) can pay off!



I use a spacer just for my releaver now because im on symbicort & ive never had this problem with my spacer infact it makes a huge difference. I have never had anything come out of my spacer but I did when i was a kid & had the big massive spacer but now i use the aerochamber it is amazing. if you are getting this it might be that the technequie you are using isnt right but you shouldnt be given the inhaler or spacer if u arent shown how to use it properly because u will be getting a reduced dose which could be why you got symptoms when you forgot it.

6 months is way too long to stay on meds if you are still getting symptoms, when i was having alot of trouble with my chest my consultant/consultant at the chest clinic would see me every week & if I was no better in 2 then they would add something else on. I know you shouldnt have 2 but somethimes you have 2 fight & tell them you want 2 change your meds, i had to do this when I was admitted to hospital for the 3rd time in 5 weeks. They were going to keep me on the same inhaler & not change my meds but I pointed out to the team of drs that steritide wasnt working for me because I was maxed out & still couldn't breathe & they changed it 4 me the next day.

Yoou need to keep going back 2 your drs & if you cant get an appointment try 2 go back to your asthma nurse but TELL her what you want, sometimes its the only way remember you know your body better than any1 else!! Oh and if you have any asthmatic symptoms just take your reliever because you cant over dose on ventolin & its always better to be safe than sorry.

Good luck!!


I'll definitely go on Monday and make an appt. Today wasn't great either :( I do wonder how I've spent all my life thinking being unable to.breath was normal (for me anyway!)

I have an aerochamber too so maybe I am using it wrong. If I used my reliever everytime I got symptoms I'd be using it 2 or 3 times a day! Think I do need to see someone!

Haha I have great skill in being a pain in the arse and am prepared for an argument with the nurse if necessary. Failing that I'll go an see the nurse as soon as I get to uni. The surgery I'm with has employed another asthma nurse, unfortunately with the same first name and thats all it says on the website so I'll have to think of a polite way to ask for an appointment with the new one, since the receptionist will have to find out which one I've seen in the past! I do hate taking up appointments though when there are so many people who need to see a doctor more. I've had 3 appointments this year, that's more than I've had in the past 10 years!

If you cant od on ventolin.why do does it say a limit to how many times you should take it a day in the leaflet? Does.taking it lots make it less effective?


yep 2-3 times a day - definitely need to be doing something about your preventer. Don't worry that other ppl need to see the dr more - asthma is something that needs to be sorted, it's a very good reason for seeing the dr and I'm sure they see people with a lot less reason to go than you have! You shouldn't feel bad about seeing them as much as you need to to get things under control.

Know what you mean about seeing them a lot though - I used to get by without seeing them for ages then last year it was something like every few weeks - they know me pretty well now! Crossed fingers you can get the new nurse - that's annoying that they both have the same name or you could ask specifically for the new one.

I think the reason it puts a limit on is that they want people to see their doctor if they need that much rather than just carry on taking it when they may need urgent help. I have an idea that I read/heard somewhere you CAN get used to it if you take a lot. I know I seem to need a lot to get about the same effect as the Atrovent I'm on (though when I didn't have any preventer it didn't really work at all - too much for it to do perhaps). Official advice in general would still be to take it when you need it, but if you need a lot then make an appt asap as it suggests your control is not good.

btw I have an Able spacer - maybe I'm doing things wrong too...


The leaflet says that because if you need alot of ventolin your asthma isnt under control & you need medical attention, but if you need it dont hesitate just take it & if symptoms persist go 2 the drs or a useful asthma nurse. You should have been told that ventolin isnt dangerous even if your not asthmatic it wont harm you but if you take alot of ventolin you get shakey but if your able 2 breathe its worth it. Just before 1 of my hospital admissions i was maxed out on steritide i was taking 40mg of pred & was still taking 2 puffs of my ventolin every 15-20 mins, i was actually told that 10 puffs through a spacer is the same as being nebulised.

Really dont feel bad at all about going back to the dr/ asthma nurse how are they suppose to know if your medication isnt working & your struggling if you dont tell them. I was in the drs or chest clinc & both sometimes every week for about 3/4 months when i was really bad, it got to the point i didnt even have 2 book myself in lol. They would defiantly prefer you 2 go back to them when you are struggling rather than u end up in hospital.

Ive had ventolin for about 17 years now & the only time ive felt it didnt work was when i had my really bad patch from dec-may but ebs on their own didnt even work but since then ive had 2 use my ventolin because of trying 2 do start exercise again & I had an incident a few weeks ago where I had 2 go 2 church and they had incense & i couldnt breathe even going outside didnt help but i took my ventolin through my spacer and within a few minutes i was able to speak again.

Dont suffer in silence Make sure you see someone as much as u need 2 until u get things sorted

Reply has an alternative landline number listed

Asthma UK Adviceline 0845 701 0203 / 020 7786 4900 Switchboard will answer: ask to be put through to Adviceline.


Thanks for that number jinglefairy :) I'll ring as soon as I can get some privacy. I should probably own up that I forgot to make an appt today since I've been uni shopping since 10am! Proves it can't be bothering me that much! I'll go tomorrow.

I know my asthma isn't controlled, the nurse told me last time I saw her and just told me to give it time which is where the wait six months thing comes into it. I had a serious chest infection when I wa a few hours old and have aleways had breathing issues, and likely numerous chest infections and minor asthma attacks, which have been ignored by my parents so I guess the preventer has a lot to do!

I'll use my ventolin whenever I need it then since it's safe. I can get shakey and a rapid heartbeat with just two puffs sometimes :/ I think that's maybe another reason why I avoid using it unless I have too!

Think it's the spacer not me- today nothing came out! Unless I've somehow changed my technique!


You may also like...