6 tips to help children inhale asthma sprays / metered-dose aerosols

Children with chronic respiratory diseases often have to inhale asthma sprays or other metered-dose aerosols. We have six useful tips you should bear in mind.

Tip 1: A holding chamber (spacer) can be used up to the age of 8 years

For children who are younger than eight, doctors recommend using a spacer for spray inhalation. This is because this holding chamber ensures that all of the inhalant reaches the bronchial tubes, and does not get stuck in the mouth or throat where some medications can cause undesirable side effects.

Inhaling with a spacer is easier than without a holding chamber. Click here for instructions helping children inhale using a spacer.

Tip 2: Regular inhalation with asthma spray and metered-dose aerosols and with a spacer – even on the move

It is important to regularly inhale the prescribed spray and not to miss a dose. Some medications – such as cortisone – take a few days of consistent use to reach their full effect. Irregular inhalation can reduce the effect, which is why consistent inhalation is important.

Ideally, a spacer should be used for the inhalation – even if you are out and about. This ensures that the right dose of the prescribed medication reaches the bronchial tubes where it can have its effect.

Tip 3: Masks suitable for babies and toddlers

There are special masks available for the VORTEX® holding chamber for babies and toddlers who cannot inhale using a mouthpiece.

  • For babies and toddlers up to the age of 2 years: “Ladybug mask” (orange)
  • For children aged 2 to 4 years: “Frog mask” (green)

Tip 4: Use a spacer even after switching from a mask to a mouthpiece

The switch from the mask to a mouthpiece should be done as soon as possible. Even children under 4 years can often inhale with a mouthpiece. Parents and children often make the mistake that they generally fail to use the holding chamber and directly inhale the spray. Children should, however, inhale with the spacer to an age of about 8 years to avoid side effects and to achieve the best possible effect of the inhalant (see Tip 1).

Tip 5: Do not release all the prescribed puffs at once

Another common error is that the prescribed puffs are released all at once at the start of the inhalation. The way to do it is to release one puff and then to inhale. In adults a slow and deep breath is usually enough. Children inhale several slow and deep breaths. Only then is another puff released into the spacer and the inhalation is repeated.

Tip 6: For optimum hygiene, regularly clean and disinfect the spacer

To prevent bacteria growing in the spacer, you should clean the holding chamber at regular intervals. For optimum hygiene, the VORTEX® holding chamber can be dismantled into its separate parts, making it ideal to clean. All parts can also be boiled or disinfected in the vaporiser, as is common for baby bottles. Click here for further tips and instructions for cleaning the spacer.

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An article written by the PARI BLOG editorial team.

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