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Spacers for asthma inhaler - can anyone tell me the difference?

(32 Posts)
Laugs Sun 11-Oct-09 20:34:15

DD (nearly 3) has been prescribed two different spacers for her inhaler.

Both have a small mask covering mouth and nose, but one is the large, bottle-shaped one (I've also been prescribed this in the past), and the other is much smaller - a tube shape about 6" long and 2" diameter.

I'm just wondering if they are effective as each other. It's obviously much easier to carry around the small one, so I'm not sure if the larger one has an advantage because of its greater capacity?


wicked Sun 11-Oct-09 20:38:36

My DD was given a spacer by the hospital. It was a two piece plastic thing - two cones that fit together.

It is hard to use if you have a restless child as you basically need to do it with two hands.

Much easier is an Aerochamber (tube with teddy bears on it). You can do it with one hand so can restrain comfort your child at the same time.

According to the hospital, their spacers are more effective, so if your child is really ill, it is probably best to use that one. For every day use, the Aerochamber is better, and it fits in your handbag/pocket.

AboardtheAxiom Sun 11-Oct-09 20:45:44

DS has the aerochamber with the bears on, have never had the bigger one prescribed but m sister has for DN, I agree with wicked.

duckyfuzz Sun 11-Oct-09 20:48:20

we have only had the bigger one prescribed, but have used the teddy one in hospital, so the opposite to others, I agree the smaller one is easier to deal with!

Laugs Sun 11-Oct-09 20:49:54

Yes, they are the two I mean: the big rocket/ bottle one and the teddy bear tube.

DD is good at taking the big spacer, so I guess I should probably stick with that if it's more effective. It's just such a pain to lug around, squeeze in your handbag etc...

Laugs Sun 11-Oct-09 20:51:23

Sorry, cross posted with duckyfuzz. Maybe I'd better check with the GP which is better then. I'd much rather use the small one.

duckyfuzz Sun 11-Oct-09 20:52:04

do you often need it when out and about? If not then just take the smaller in case of emergency, maybe with the bigger one left int he car?

Laugs Sun 11-Oct-09 20:56:33

I don't drive, but thinking about it we use the inhaler far more at night, so I could probably just keep the big one for home and the smaller one for when we're out.

FlamingoBingo Sun 11-Oct-09 21:00:32

I was told the aerochamber is more effective as you dont' have to rely on the child to maintain a good seal.

wicked Sun 11-Oct-09 21:00:48

That's a good plan, laugs. You need to do what is easier for you, and then you will make sure that DD gets her medication when she needs if. If it is hard for you, you will start to slip up, or worse, never go out!

You should not need to do the brown inhaler when you are out - just the blue. You know that you can give loads of ventolin, so if you don't feel that your spacer is as effective, you can always give an extra puff.

Laugs Sun 11-Oct-09 21:04:33

Thanks for all the advice - and so quickly! DD does not have a brown inhaler, but that's another moan grin.

madamy Sun 11-Oct-09 21:07:26

DS was in hospital last week and was given the big one which they said was more effective than the smaller one which we were using. They recommended we use the big one, especially if his wheezing is particulary bad. I also realised I wasn't using it properly (and am a nurse blush!) - 1 squeeze of the inhaler at a time and count to 10, then take away the mask from his face before putting it back for the next one.

Laugs Sun 11-Oct-09 21:15:22

Madamy, I haven't been using it properly either then! But we were in the hospital last week and they didn't mention that. They did object to DD counting to ten herself though, as apparently this makes you take shallower breaths. What a pain - that was the best way I'd found to keep her still and keep it on her face.

madamy Sun 11-Oct-09 21:17:25

It was something to do with the fact that if there's too much of the drug within the spacer, it can stick to the sides of the spacer as opposed to being breathed in. Sounds a bit odd mind you!

alwayslookingforanswers Sun 11-Oct-09 21:22:23

DS1 always had the volumatic spacer, which I was also prescribed (I have no less than 5 in the cupboard at the moment - and I've lost count of how many have been thrown away over the years as they got cracked/disgusting).

DS2 was presrcribed the smaller one (yellow with bears I think?) last year - and tbh I found the mouthpiece much better on that for DS3 than I did the volumatic. The mouthpiece was just totally the wrong shape on the volumatic and it's never covered any of my DS's mouths properly - the yellow one however has.

I also only learned last year how to use it properly blush (Ds1 is 9 and had recurrent chest infections requiring inhalers since he was a baby)

wicked Sun 11-Oct-09 21:25:39

Volumatic - that is the name of the hospital issued ones.

Your DS1 could get a blue aerochamber. It has a mouthpiece, similar to the actual inhaler mouthpiece. The also do large child/adult facemasks.

bethylou Sun 11-Oct-09 21:36:57

We have swapped to the teddy bear one for DS aged 18 months as they have prescribed a different inhaler that won't fit in the volumatic. It has made things much easier for us.

Asthma nurse did say that the volumatic cone one needs to be angled downwards so that the valve opens - I had been using one myself a few years ago and DS had for months and I had never been told that before!

Now I'm worried about overdosing him as he's got an inhaler only licensed for 7 year olds and over. The asthma nurse was working on the fact that it's very hard to get littlies to take them so he wouldn't get the full dose. Typically, he's now decided to take it brilliantly so I'm left guessing how long I should leaev it over his mouht and nose so as not to give him too much!!

wicked Sun 11-Oct-09 21:39:04

If you think how much they get in hospital with hourly nebulisers, you really don't have to worry about overdosing them. You would have to use the whole canister!

Laugs Sun 11-Oct-09 21:45:29

Yes, I was told 1 dose of the nebuliser = 25 puffs of DD's inhaler (which is the pale blue 100mg salbutamol). That made me feel much better about the times I've had to give her lots of puffs.

alwayslookingforanswers Sun 11-Oct-09 21:48:19

wicked - none of ours have ever been issues by a hospital - always by a chemist grin.

DS1 hasn't actually needed his for a while - and I do finally seem to be getting through to the chemist that I have PLENTY of different spacers at home and really don't need another one LOL.

Laugs Sun 11-Oct-09 21:52:11

That's strange alwayslooking - I had to practically beg my GP for a 2nd spacer (after 1 year) and he told me I was wasting NHS money. I asked him if I could just buy it over the counter in the chemist, but he said I could have one, just this once. Can you buy them over the counter in the chemist, by the way? The Volumatic we have is getting quite worn.

I'm off to bed now, but thanks everyone for the advice. I hope you all have wheeze-free nights ahead smile

wicked Sun 11-Oct-09 21:55:04

I've always just bought mine over the counter. I never realised you could get them on prescription until I got the last one.

They cost about £9 - £10.

wicked Sun 11-Oct-09 21:55:34

I've always just bought mine over the counter. I never realised you could get them on prescription until I got the last one.

They cost about £9 - £10.

Laugs Sun 11-Oct-09 21:56:08

Great, thank you.

pointyhat Sun 11-Oct-09 22:01:09

We get them on prescription whenever we need a new one.

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