Sometimes at school, you don’t want other kids to see you with your inhaler. But you need your medication. What to do? We asked certified asthma educators Ingrid Baerg and Angela Alexander for some tips.
First tip: The great thing about asthma is that if you learn to control it, asthma won’t control you. Some kids ask us why they have to take the controller inhaler when their asthma doesn’t seem to be acting up. This is because using that controller every day is the best way to get a “handle” on asthma; it keeps swelling and mucous away.
Grief Relief: With that control, you shouldn’t have to get out your reliever inhaler as often. But when you do need it, don’t be embarrassed. After all, it really is a relief. And consider: almost 1 out of 10 kids have asthma; you aren’t alone!
Friends: Talk to close friends about your asthma and why you take medication. In your class, you may also be surprised to discover how many kids have medication for asthma or other health issues.
Puffer: If you do need your reliever inhaler, it will work best if you use a spacer. Why? More medicine will get down into your lungs. If you’re not comfortable with your current inhaler/puffer, speak to a parent about seeing an asthma educator and your doctor, and possibly switching to a different medication. There are dry powder inhalers available that work without a spacer. Remember, getting the medicine into your lungs helps you control the asthma with the goal of using less medication. Control means you are active and doing things you love – hanging out with friends, playing sports – or maybe a guitar.
*Certified Respiratory Educators and Certified Asthma Educators help patients gain control of asthma, and COPD. For more information about the educators, visit the Canadian Network for Respiratory Care (CNRC) at www.cnrchome.net . Ingrid Baerg, RN, CAE and Angela Alexander, RN, CAE work at the Asthma Education Clinic at B.C. Children’s Hospital.