Skip to Content
Home > Wellness Resources > Health Library > Asthma in Children: Helping a Child Use a Metered-Dose Inhaler and Mask Spacer
The medicines used for
asthma are often delivered through a metered-dose
inhaler (MDI). Using an MDI with a mask spacer:
A metered-dose inhaler (MDI) is a handheld device that delivers a
measured dose of medicine directly to the lungs.
Using a spacer with an MDI is the most efficient way
to get the most medicine to your child's lungs. A spacer works like a holding
area for the medicine before your child breathes in. Using a spacer with the
MDI may improve the delivery of the medicine and may help your child if he or
she has problems with releasing the medicine and inhaling at the same time. A
spacer should always be used with inhaled
corticosteroids to avoid side effects.
mask spacer is a spacer with a face mask at the end of the spacer. This is put
over your child's mouth and nose. Mask spacers are used for young children who
cannot use a spacer with a mouthpiece. They are usually needed for children
from infancy through about age 5. But many children about age 2 and older do
not like the mask. Encourage them to learn to use a standard spacer if they are
willing to try it. Older children and adults who have problems using an MDI and
spacer can also use a mask spacer.
Using an MDI with a mask spacer may make it easier for
your child to get the medicine to his or her lungs.
Using an MDI with a mask spacer may make it
easier for your child to get the medicine to his or her lungs.
Continue to Why?
Using a metered-dose inhaler (MDI) with a mask spacer is
An MDI with a mask spacer may help your child avoid
side effects of medicine.
An MDI with a mask spacer may help your child
avoid side effects of medicine, because when the spacer is used effectively,
most of the medicine goes to the lungs and does not travel to other parts the
Continue to How?
Before using a metered-dose inhaler (MDI) with a mask
After spraying one puff of medicine into the mask
spacer, your child takes one deep breath.
After spraying one puff of medicine into the
mask spacer, your child breathes normally for about 20 seconds. But a single
deep breath to inhale the medicine is preferred for older children, teens, and
Continue to Where?
Now that you have read this
information, you are ready to help your child use a metered-dose inhaler with a
If you have questions about
this information, take it with you when you visit your doctor.
Return to topic:
March 14, 2013
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Lora J. Stewart, MD - Allergy and Immunology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2013 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.