GP FAQ Asthma inhalers and spacers


Did you know?

There are age-appropriate videos on how to use inhalers on the Itchy Sneezy Wheezy website:

Right Breathe is a useful website and app which includes prescribing information on every inhaler and spacer available in the UK for asthma:


  • A volumatic spacer (oval/rugby ball-shaped) is roughly five times more efficient than an aerochamber spacer (cylindrical shaped)
  • A volumatic spacer should always be used when an MDI inhaler is taken (at home or school)
  • An aerochamber may be preferred when ‘out-and-about’ as it is smaller and easier to fit in a bag
    • aerochambers have different colours according to age -  Infant (orange), Child (yellow), Adult (blue)
  • When aged over 4 years, a facemask may be switched to a mouthpiece
  • Children over 7 years may be able to successfully use breath-actuated devices, depending on their understanding and lung capacity. These include easi-breathe (wet), auto-haler (wet), turbohaler (dry), accuhaler (dry)

Did you know?

Wet type (eg easi-breathe and auto-haler) of actuated devices require a long, slow breath for optimal lung delivery.

Dry inhalers (eg turbohaler and accuhaler) require a quick, hard, deep breath.