By Community Services at Parrish Medical Center

Learn How to Use a Spacer for Your Asthma or COPD Inhaler

The holidays can bring more family and friends into your life. But at the same time, controlling your asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease can be more stressful. That means you need to make sure you are getting the most benefit from your metered-dose inhaler.

If you have asthma or COPD and your metered-dose inhaler isn’t doing the trick, you might be doing it incorrectly. “When you use an inhaler the wrong way, less medicine gets into your lungs,” says Terri Brewis, BS, RRT, AE-C, respiratory manager at Parrish Medical Center. You can improve your medicine’s performance by using a spacer, a device that connects to the mouthpiece of your inhaler “and helps concentrate the medicine so you waste less and inhale it more effectively,” Brewis explains.

Here’s how to use one:

  1. After attaching the spacer to the mouthpiece of your inhaler, gently breathe out to empty your lungs.
  2. Put the spacer between your teeth and close your lips around it. Take a slow breath in through your mouth and press down on your inhaler to release one puff of medicine, breathing in until your lungs are full. “If you have a spacer with an audible alert, listen for the tone that lets you know if you’re breathing in too quickly,” Brewis says.
  3. Remove the spacer and close your lips; hold your breath for a count of 10. Then slowly exhale through your mouth.

spacer-2The Emmi COPD education program will help you take your prescribed medications, including inhalers, the right way. Go to and self-register, or click the COPD program at the
bottom of the webpage.

Create Your Action Plan Today
If you have COPD or asthma, you know it’s a chronic condition that requires ongoing management. Establishing an action plan is part of smart, healthy living. It gives you and your loved ones steps to take based on your symptoms.

The benefits of an action plan are clear when symptoms worsen. It contains information on your specific maintenance and rescue medications, oxygen and lifestyle factors. Your action plan also helps you keep track of your medications and make sure refills are ordered on time. And it’s a way to communicate with emergency personnel so they can choose the best course of treatment for you.

Parrish Medical Center has made it easy for you to keep track of your asthma or COPD, and to have an action plan in place so you can enjoy your best health.

Go to to download either an asthma or COPD form. Then talk to your doctor about completing your personalized plan.

Parrish Medical Center is located at 951 N. Washington Ave., Titusville. Call (321) 268-6110 for more information.