Alert: Kids Need Help To Use Asthma Inhaler Correctly

After watching her gravity-defying performances, it's hard to believe that pop music star Pink, 39, has struggled with respiratory problems and asthma since childhood. Ironically, you could even say Pink owes her career to asthma; she took voice lessons early on to help her breathing.

Pink also owes her lung power to lifesaving medications that provide long-term asthma control. These drugs are usually delivered through an inhaler. The first-ever study to evaluate inhaler technique in children ages 2-16 who were hospitalized for asthma found that 18% didn't use a spacer with their inhaler. (It's a plastic tube attached to the inhaler that helps a child take in the medication completely.) And 42% had faulty inhaler technique.

These inhaler snafus up the risk of an asthma attack and can put a kid's life in danger. So, here's what to do if your child has asthma:

1. Use a peak flow meter to measure lung function weekly.

2. Have your child use a spacer with the inhaler. It's essential for any kid 6 or younger and for all children taking inhaled glucocorticoids or those who have problems coordinating proper inhaler technique.

3. Have your asthma doctor go over the best method (with or without spacer) with you and your child. When not using a spacer, make sure your child follows these steps: Shake the inhaler five times to mix medication with propellant; exhale; put lips around mouthpiece; begin inhaling and then push canister to activate; breathe in deeply; remove inhaler from mouth; hold breath for count of 10. Done!

© 2019 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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