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Asthma Overview

It is estimated that childhood asthma affects approximately 5 million people in the United States. Unfortunately, there is no cure for asthma but the condition is efficiently treated with several medications some of which are in a form of inhalers.

In asthma inflammation of the airways and the lungs leads to their swelling, there is an increased production of the mucus and there is a constriction of the smooth muscles. People suffering from asthma are too sensitive to certain stimuli such as cigarette smoke, perfume, dust, pollen, animal dander etc. The symptoms of asthma may also be induced with viral infections of the respiratory tract and exposure to cold air.

Typical symptoms of asthma are shortness of breath, rapid breathing, cough and a tight feeling in the chest. During asthma attack a person is simply unable to breathe, is drowsy, the pulse is rapid and since there is not enough oxygen in the body the peripheral parts of the body such as fingertips and lips become bluish (cyanosis).

Asthma Inhalers in Children

An inhaler (puffer) is a medical device that is used for inhalation of certain medications. It can successfully administer the drug directly into the lungs. This form of drugs is mainly used in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and in asthma.

Metered-dose inhalers (MDI) represent the most common type of inhaler. The medication is stored in solution in a pressurized canister that contains a propellant. This canister is attached to a plastic, hand-operated actuator. Once it has been activated metered inhaler releases a precise dose of the drug in a form of aerosol.

The person using the inhaler is supposed to first fully exhale, place the mouth-piece of the device into the mouth, start to inhale at a moderate rate and depress the canister to release the drug. The medication in a form of aerosol is simply drawn into the lungs due to continuation of inhalation. The person must hold breath for around 10 seconds which allows the medication to settle onto the walls of the bronchial and other airways of the lungs.

Several medications used in children suffering from asthma may be administered via inhalers. They include corticosteroids (triamcinolone, ciclesonide, budesonide, beclometasone etc.) and other anti-asthma drugs such as Albuterol, terbutaline or levalbuterol. It is essential to rinse mouth with water in case a person has used inhaled that contains corticosteroids. In case this is not performed the person is at a higher risk to develop oral thrush or even thrush of the throat. Oral or pharyngeal thrush may only require additional treatment with antifungal medications.

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