How to Use an MDI With a Mask

By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , , , , , , , /

A lot of medicines come in a
metered dose inhaler, also called an MDI. Use these
medications with a valved holding chamber called a spacer.
If your child is very young or has trouble with the spacer, you
can use a spacer with a mask. In order to get the medicine into
the lungs, children under the age of seven usually need to use
a mask. Older children will learn to use a mouthpiece.
Remove caps from the spacer and metered dose inhaler. Shake the
MDI for three to five seconds before using. Spray the MDI no
more than four times before using it for the first time, if
you haven’t used it in awhile, or if you dropped it. This is
called priming the MDI. This does not count as a dose of
medication. Insert the opening of the MDI into the rubber
sealed end of the spacer. The mask should be attached to the
other side of the spacer. Stand or sit up straight. Place the
mask over the child’s nose and mouth, making a tight seal. Have
your child breathe out. Press the top of the MDI so it sprays
into the chamber. Only press one time. After spraying the MDI
into the valved holding chamber, breathe in and out for 10
seconds. You can watch the valve move in and out to make sure
your child is breathing in the medicine. If possible, have your
child hold his or her breath for 10 seconds and then breathe out
normally. Wait one minute and repeat as prescribed for a
minimum of two puffs. If the medicine is an inhaled steroid,
have your child rinse his or her mouth and brush his or her teeth
after each treatment. Make sure you rinse and spit and don’t
swallow. Clean the spacer and mask once a week. Remove the
mask and take apart the spacer before cleaning. Wash the spacer
and mask in hot, soapy water. Do not place in the dishwasher.
Remove them and rinse with clean water. Allow it to air dry on a
clean paper towel. Each week clean the small hole inside the
MDI with a wet Q-tip. This will prevent the hole from getting
clogged with medicine. Before using the MDI for the first
time, read the package insert to see how many doses there are in
the MDI. Many new MDIs track doses with counters. If your MDI
does not have a counter, mark each dose on the plastic cover.
When the counter reads zero, get a new MDI of medicine from the
pharmacy. The MDI will still spray but no medicine will be

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