Peak flow question



  • a spacer is a kind of plastic-cylinder/spherical device that attaches to the inhaler and encloses the drug released when pressed; the principle is that you don't have to be quite so efficient in your timing of inhaling and pressing on the inhaler -- and that you can inhale about five times from the spacer device. Together, this augments the amount of drug getting into your lungs. I was told by one my former consultants that, even with optimal technique, you can only get about 10% of each puff into your lungs when applying the inhaler directly to your mouth, whereas with a spacer, you can get up to 25-30% -- some inevitably gets wasted in your mouth and throat whichever method you use. you can therefore see the benefit of these devices, and everyone with asthma ought to use one really. the only downside is that they can be a bit bulky (the bigger and better ones are about 20cm long), and aren't suited to be carried about during the day. they're realistically only going to be used by people using them with steroid inhalers, as you only take those morning and night, and thus leave that inhaler by your bedside. also, they're a bit of menace to clean, plus you've to get a new one every six months or so, which hardly anyone does.

    the only thing which could make the above discussion pointless for you is that you say you get your salbutamol in capsules -- does this mean you have a dry-powder inhaler, rather than a liquid-puffer? if you do, you obviously can't use a spacer...
  • great thanks for your help Yorkshire lad!!
  • Hi All
    Haven't checked in here for a week or so. Re the discussion about spacers, my inhalers are "turbohalers", which do not (according to my doctor) rely on timing the "puff". Instead, you load the inhaler by twisting it and then put the end of it into your mouth and inhale deeply. Seems to work well for me.

    Re the steriod inhaler, I am continuing to monitor PF and, after a few days of starting on it I noticed an improvement. In the past week, ALL of my readings have been between 600 and 700 (even after hard exercise). Previously, I saw post-exercise dips as low as 500, and the norm was 550. I still find a post-exercise drop in PF, but not nearly as much. I also notice almost no wheeziness now.
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