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Make it Easier for Young Children to Use Asthma Inhalers

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By Dr. Howard Bennett   Print
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When children with asthma get to be three or four, many doctors switch from nebulizers to handheld devices called metered dose inhalers (MDIs). There are two advantages to MDIs. First, they deliver inhaled medication much faster than nebulizers. Second, the size of the particles coming out of MDIs is smaller than nebulizers and therefore can go deeper into a child’s chest.


Despite these advantages, some children do not like the aftertaste of the medication used in MDIs. A great way to cut down on this unpleasant taste is to tell your child that you are going to give him two treats with his medicine. The first treat consists of a couple of potato chips or tortilla chips that he can eat before the treatment. The chips coat the mouth with a salty/oily flavor that reduces the aftertaste. The second treat is small piece of candy that he can have after he inhales his medicine. It is important to let the child choose which treats he gets for cooperating with the treatment.

Howard J. Bennett, M.D.

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