There are many medications used in the treatment of asthma, one of them being a puffer. If you have ever used an asthma puffer, you will know just how much coordination is required.
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So if adults have difficulty using these puffers, how can parents make sure their child is getting the right amount of asthma medication?
The importance of managing asthma in kids
Asthma is an inflammatory condition that affects the airways, making it difficult to breathe. Without treatment, it can evidently affect day-to-day activities.
Good asthma management for kids means they can continue with all their daily activities without having an asthma attack.
The challenges of a puffer
For an adult to use an asthma puffer correctly, you need to first breathe out then make a good seal around the mouthpiece with your lips, then holding the puffer upright breathe in slowly and steadily and press the puffer to release the asthma medication and continue breathing.
After all this you need to remove the puffer and hold your breath for 10 seconds before finally breathing out. Sound complicated? You bet it is. Many adults have difficulty getting this right, so you can imagine the struggles parents go through to get their kids to do this.
90% of people with asthma don’t know how to use their device correctly.
The simple solution: spacers
A spacer is a very simple device to make the process much simpler for parents.
Essentially it is a clear plastic container sometimes in the shape of a football or a long cylinder with an opening on one end to insert the puffer and another opening on the opposite end as the mouthpiece. Besides making it easier for parent and child (as good coordination is not required), most importantly…
The spacer makes sure more medication reaches the lungs where the inflammation is occurring.
How to use an asthma spacer with kids:
This is what is called the Four Breath Technique and is probably the easiest one for children and is often the technique used in an emergency:
- Remove the cap on the puffer and shake the puffer well.
- Attach the puffer into the spacer
- If a mask is not required, put your mouth on the mouthpiece and create a good tight seal around it.
- If a mask is used, put the mask over your child’s nose and mouth.
- Tell your child to breathe out gently.
- Press the puffer once to release asthma medication into the spacer.
- Tell your child to breathe in as per normal and then breathe out into the spacer. If no mask is used, make sure their lips continue to make a tight seal around the mouthpiece.
- Repeat this another 3 times (total of 4 normal breaths)
- If more puffs of medication are needed, repeat the whole process again.
This article is not designed to diagnose, it is here to help parents know what to watch for. Please always seek medical help. Your doctor or pharmacist will be able to demonstrate how to use a spacer with your kids and how to clean the spacer.
Always speak to your doctor or pharmacist first before purchasing an asthma spacer to make sure you have the right one for your child.
Does your child use a spacer? Do they find it easier? Please SHARE in the comments below.