Asthma Inhalers Often Misused

By Christina Elston

Many parents may be letting their kids use asthma inhalers after the medication in the canister has run out, according to a study reported in the October edition of the medical journal Chest.

Rather than keeping track of the number of doses used, and checking the label for the total number of available doses listed by the manufacturer to see if the canister is empty, some 72 percent of parents in the study said they listen to see whether the canister makes a sound when their child takes a puff. They assume that as long as the canister makes a sound, it contains medication.

However, researchers found that canisters produce between 54 and 86 percent more audible puffs than the maximum number of doses listed by manufacturers. They say that keeping track of the number of doses a child has used, and subtracting that from the number listed on the label, is the only accurate way to tell whether there is still medication left in the canister.

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Christina Elston is a freelance writer who specializes in family health issues.
From United Parenting Publications, December 2004