Asthma: inhaler techniques 

Asthma is a chronic condition affecting the lungs and airways. Learn about the symptoms of childhood asthma, how it can be treated and which inhaler is right for children.

More information about treating asthma

Transcript of Asthma: inhaler techniques

I'm Sarah Latham, paediatric asthma nurse specialist

at King's College Hospital in South London.

Asthma is a condition which affects the small tubes in the lungs,

which are also called airways,

and it's a variable condition,

by which I mean the symptoms of asthma come and go.

Those symptoms are difficulty in breathing,

coughing and wheezing,

which is a high-pitched squeaky noise.

You can have all three of those or sometimes just one of them,

so any of those symptoms, then one might consider it could be asthma.

There are a variety of treatments available for asthma

and the commonest types are relievers, which are always blue,

and then there are preventers, which are brown or orange.

Many children with asthma can cope with occasional use of the reliever,

but there are also a large number of children

who need the addition of a preventative inhaler,

which should be taken regularly, morning and evening.

In terms of devices for children with asthma,

there are a wide variety of devices available.

As regards which one is appropriate for a given child,

it's entirely dependent on the child's age.

So broadly speaking, children who are aged under three years of age

should be given a spacer with a mask on the end.

The spacer, as you can see, is a bit like a large bubble.

This is just one of a variety of spacers which are in use.

And the mask just fits on the top like that.

And the inhaler is inserted in the end like this.

This is a typical spacer and mask for a child who is under three years of age.

There are other spacer devices available.

These two, as you can see, they're smaller

and often some parents prefer them because they're smaller,

they're more portable, they have teddy bears on them.

And again the inhaler just fits in the end just like that.

Once children reach school age

they can usually be taught how to use a more portable device,

such as one of these.

To use this one, the thumb is put in that little dip

and pulled round like that, all the way to the bottom,

making sure it clicks like that,

and then this lever is pulled down and now it's ready for use.

And to use it, the child should blow out gently away from the device, like this.

Then the child's mouth is put on there

and the child should take a deep breath in.

I'll do the whole thing.



And the breath should be held just for about ten seconds.

Once that's been done, the child should then close the device like that.

In terms of knowing when the device needs to be renewed,

there's a dose counter on there which counts down from 60.

To use this device, the lid is unscrewed like that

and the device needs to be held upright

when the base is twisted one way as far as it goes

and then back the other and it clicks on the second twist.

Once that's done it's ready for use and can be tilted at a comfortable angle

and the child would need to blow out first, again away from the device,

and then put their mouth on there and take a big breath in.

The device is then removed

and the child should hold their breath for ten seconds.

So I'll just do the whole thing.



And again for about ten seconds.

As the child gets older, say about eight or nine years of age,

they may be able to use devices that look like these.

I'll just demonstrate each one in turn.

For this one the lid should be removed first of all.

And the device should be shaken

and this lever should be lifted up like that.

Once that's done it's then ready for use.

And the child should blow out first, away from the device,

put their mouth on there and take a deep breath in.

Then the device is removed

and the child should hold their breath for a full ten seconds.

I'd like to show you this one, which is quite similar to the one I've shown you

in that you shake the inhaler still,

making sure that you don't put your thumb over those air vents.

Once you've done that you then open the lid like that

and again blow out, not into the mouthpiece,

then take a big suck in and hold your breath for ten seconds, like this.



After the ten seconds you then shut the lid and that's it.

For repeated doses just do exactly what I've done again.

There's no reason why children who've got asthma

shouldn't lead as normal a life as possible,

playing with their friends, going to school, playing sport as well.

And what will help that is if they take their treatment

as advised and prescribed by their doctor or nurse.


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