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HELP with spacer PLEASE any tips

Greetings I am new here, but not to asthma.

I have never used a spacer before and I am struggling with it.

To put a long story short, I have costocontritis which is basically infamation of my cartilidge between the ribs. So taking a quick deep breath in is painful...

Im on some naproxen for it which is helping and been given a spacer.

So far Im struggling with it.

Doing the 6 breaths is HARD, the spacer keeps whistling because Im breathing in too much as I feel like I am suffocating like there is not enough air in the thing, so then I start nose breathing on top with my nose...and blowing out too hard .. arrrghhh.

So tried with the mask...had thee same problem with the whistling noise coming from the spacer which tells your doing it wrong. Though at least if I nose breathe the medicine is still going in, but Im still exhaling hard which makes me inhale hard (like not enough air in the spacer) and there goes the whistling again.

I must be doing something wrong, but everything is put together correctly.

Any tips. Or I have to breathe shallow or something

6 Replies

If taking a quick deep breath in is hard/painful then the spacer should be the answer. But - for some reason breathing is suddenly harder when we've got a spacer or inhaler in our mouths, so you're not alone here!

You can do tidal-breathing with a spacer - basically just breathe gently and normally, with your lips around the spacer mouthpiece.

The whistling means you are breathing too quickly. You shouldn't feel air-hungry after just a few breaths - just make sure that you've had some good breaths just before you use it (unless you're using it in an attack).

My pharmacist taught me to do it better by getting me to just blow on my fingers very gently, so it was a steady stream I could feel on my finger tips, but the gentlest that I could sustain, and then match that intensity on the inhale. If you make the inhale and the exhale take the same amount of time - say 4-6 seconds, then you should be about there.


This page might help from AUK:Using inhalers/spacers

It sounds like you're using tidal breathing if you're trying to do six breaths with the spacer. You could try a single breath technique instead, where you take a slow deep breath in through the spacer and then hold it for 10 seconds. You could also go to the pharmacist or the asthma nurse at your surgery and explain that you're struggling to use your spacer correctly, I'm sure they'd be happy to help you.

I hope you get things sorted and the costocondritis goes soon. x


i personnally find the mask much easier - somehow my brain thinks that if i have something in my mouth i should breathe through my nose (bear in mind i think its better to breathe through your mouth if you can as the nose is full of stuff to stop germs getting into our lungs that will also stop the meds i think) so i can mouth breathe better with the mask one. Do you use seretide? I find that that is much more whistly than ventolin as the chamber is blocked a bit by the counting device! maybe practice with the spacer when you arent taking the meds through it, just taking really gentle, slow deep breaths (i guess when the meds are in there its easier to panic when you get it wrong)

if you find it hard to take several slow breaths, do you find it easier to take one and hold it for 10? if breathing is painful you might find that a bit easier?


THanks for replies. I am using Albuterol.

I have tried the blowing on my hand been practicing that, and the last albuterol dose I took seemed easier, I guess I will get used to using the spacer.

Taking one deep breath is hard due to the inflamation in my cartilidge which is why Im currently using the spacer. 6 breaths, then repeat again a min later.


I'm assuming you are using an aerochamber as you mention the whistling noise. You might find it easier to use a large volume spacer such as a volumatic if you are feeling suffocated.


Hi there

I can't get on with the little blue spacers and have to use the volumatic. For me it's like using an espresso cup when you really need a mug!



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