Some of you may use your inhaler by itself. For me, I have found it to be MUCH more effective to use a spacer (pictured above) or a valved holding chamber. What are they?
American Lung Association (ALA) has a helpful web page that tells the difference between a spacer and a valved holding chamber. ALA says:
A spacer is a device that is placed on the mouthpiece of your quick relief inhaler. When used, a spacer creates “space” between your mouth and the medicine. This space helps the medicine break into smaller droplets. The smaller droplets can move easier and deeper into your lungs when you breathe in your medicine.
( Photo from ALA http://www.lung.org/lung-disease/asthma/living-with-asthma/making-treatment-decisions/holding-chambers-and-spacers.html)
A valved holding chamber is a type of spacer that includes a one-way valve at the mouthpiece. This device does more than provide “space” between your mouth and the medicine. It also traps and holds your medicine, which gives you time to take a slow, deep breath. This allows you to breathe in all of the medicine.
Sometimes it's hard to "time" when you depress your inhaler, and when you breathe in. In fact, sometimes the medicine from the inhaler can go to the back of your throat instead of down into your lungs. My holding chamber helps me get the medicine into my lungs.
Asthma Doc has all of us use a holding chamber with ALL of our medications. I have one for my daily, maintenance medicine, and one for my rescue inhaler.
However, insurance will only cover ONE PER LIFETIME! Who's genius idea was that??!! So, when I need more than one, (since I have two different inhalers) Asthma Doc can still write a prescription for a holding chamber. BUT - I have to pay for one myself. I think my last one was about $20 or $30. You can call different pharmacies and ask for the "cash price" to get the best price.
They are made of plastic, so I don't know why my insurance company thinks one will last a lifetime..... big sigh.