Asthma Medications and Spacers

Asthma Medications

Relievers

All relievers in Australia are blue in colour.

Common relieves can include:

  • Ventolin
  • Asmol
  • Bricanyl
Preventers

Preventer medicines make the airways less sensitive, reduce redness and swelling and help to dry up mucus. They are the mainstay of asthma treatment because they treat the underlying cause of the symptoms. Preventers need to be taken every day to prevent symptoms and reduce the likelihood of asthma attacks. It may take two to four weeks before they reach their full effect.

Some Preventer medication includes:

  • Qvar
  • Pulmicort
  • Alvesco

WITH SPACER

Assemble the spacer. Remove inhaler cap and shake well. Place the inhaler upright into the spacer. Place the spacer mouthpiece into the victim’s mouth, between the teeth with the lips sealed around it. Press firmly on the inhaler to fire one puff into the spacer. Ask the victim to breathe in and out normally for four breaths via the spacer. Repeat this promptly until four puffs have been given. Remember to shake the inhaler before each puff.

WITHOUT SPACER

When a spacer is unavailable, shake the inhaler. Place the mouthpiece into the victim’s mouth, between the teeth with the lips sealed around it. Press firmly on the inhaler to administer one puff as the victim inhales slowly and steadily. Slip the inhaler out of the victim’s mouth. Ask the victim to hold their breath for four seconds or as long as comfortable. Breathe out slowly away from the inhaler. Repeat this promptly until four puffs have been given. Remember to shake the inhaler before each puff.

Who should use a spacer and when?

Spacers help the medication get straight to where it is needed in your lungs, with less medication ending up in your mouth and throat where it can lead to irritation or mild infections. A spacer can also make it easier to coordinate breathing in and pressing your puffer.

Spacers should be used by:

  • All children – kids aged under 4–5 years will need a mask attached.
  • All adults taking a corticosteroid preventer medication (e.g. FlixotideSymbicort) using an MDI/puffer.
  • Adults who have trouble coordinating the ‘press and breathe’ technique when using an MDI/puffer.
  • Anyone taking a reliever medication (e.g. Ventolin) during an asthma attack.
Cleaning Spacers

Clean your spacer about once a month and after you have recovered from any cold or respiratory infection. Your spacer may become a bit cloudy over time, but it should not be mouldy or brown.

To clean your spacer:

  • Dismantle your spacer, if necessary
  • Wash all the parts in clean warm water with liquid dishwashing detergent.
  • Allow the parts to air dry without rinsing – drying with a cloth or paper towel can result in static building up on the inside of the spacer, which makes the medication stick to the sides.
  • Wipe the mouthpiece clean of detergent, if needed
  • When completely dry, reassemble if necessary.
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