Tiny Asthma Inhaler That Can Reduce Bacteria and Bullying
Posted Dec 03 2010 12:00am
THE world’s smallest asthma inhaler can tackle bacteria and help prevent bullying in children.
The Easyhaler device is so effective and discreet that children as young as six can use it.
Statistics show that bullying is a concern for 30 per cent of children with severe asthma. Asthmatic children, who often feel conscious about being different to others in their school, are more likely to experience shyness, teasing and bullying about using their inhalers.
A third of children with asthma say that their condition can result in them being left out of sports activities at school.
Small enough to fit into the palm of a child’s hand, Easyhaler is the first on the market to come with its own protective case to help keep it clean.
A recent study by University College London analysed 49 used asthma inhalers collected by respiratory nurses and discovered that 1 in 4 inhalers were found to contain bacteria. This is because children have a habit of keeping their inhaler in their pocket, bag or desk drawers where it collects dirt and dust.
Easyhaler’s case could help to solve this problem.
Easyhaler also has a metered dose counter so children and their parents can see how much drug is left, can contain double the standard doseage (which, when used by adults, halves prescription fees), and is breath activated which makes it extremely simple for children as young as six to use.
Asthma is the most common chronic childhood illness and affects 1.1 million children in the UK. On average there are three children with asthma in every classroom in the UK. And every 17 minutes a child is admitted to hospital in the UK because of their condition.
Signs that a child is not managing the condition properly include coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.
Often asthmatic children don’t use their inhalers when they should because they don’t like being stared at in the playground or in lessons. They don’t want to stand out and be different to everyone else. They can also be seen as disruptive in class with their frequent coughing and wheezing.
Easyhaler is easy for them to keep in their pockets, comes with an ingenious mouthpiece which ensures the drug is inhaled correctly and at the right dose and is ready to use in a quick click. The case can be personalised with fun stickers so it looks less medical. It allows children to quickly carry on with their school life.
Famous asthmatics include David Beckham, England footballer Frank Lampard, marathon runner Paula Radcliffe, the actresses Lindsay Lohan and Elizabeth Taylor, plus pop star Pink.
Professor Henry Chrystyn, Professor of Clinical Pharmacy, University of Bradford, leads an internationally recognised research group that investigates all aspects of inhalers. He says the device is easier to use and inhale from.
He says: ‘Easyhaler’s combination of effective characteristics, which includes consistent dosing irrespective of the patient’s inhalation technique, make it an ideal inhaler and its acceptance among patients should help to improve patient compliance with their asthma medication.’
Lynette Williams, a respiratory nurse specialist, says: ‘My patients like the look of the Easyhaler and find them easy-to-use. Its protective case is a novel bonus and has helped the children, in particular, keep their inhalers clean.
‘The protective caps on some types of inhalers are known for their ability to fall off or become mislaid which allows dirt and dust to reach the mouthpiece.’
The range of easy-to-use Easyhalers will save the NHS hundreds of thousands of pounds as they are a fraction of the cost of current dry-powder inhalers.
They will also simplify asthma management by allowing doctors to prescribe two popular asthma drugs – salbutamol and budesonide – from the same type of dry powder inhaler for the first time.
Cher Piddock, Asthma Nurse Specialist for Asthma UK, says: ‘Asthma is a very serious condition. As least three children in every classroom will have asthma and the equivalent of a classroom of children will die every year as a result of their condition. This means that it is extremely important to make sure that children are given the support they need to manage their asthma effectively.
‘Children with asthma may experience many challenges throughout their time at school including the need to raise awareneness of the severity of their condition and how to help manage it to teachers and fellow pupils. Any inhaler which makes it easier and more discrete for a child to take their medicine can be seen as a positive step forward.
‘Importantly, children need to be taught how to use their inhaler and this must be checked on a regular basis.’
Easyhaler is available on prescription from GPs.
·For more information contact www.asthma.org.uk or call the Adviceline on 0800 121 6244 where specialist asthma nurses are available.
§ Asthma is the most common long-term condition in childhood and the UK has some of the highest rates of asthma symptoms in children worldwide.
§ Asthma affects on average 3 children in every classroom - that’s 1 in 10 or 1.1 million children in the UK.
§ The equivalent of a classroom full of children dies every year from asthma in the UK.
§ One in 6 parents of children with asthma believe that people’s attitudes towards their child’s asthma stops them from taking part in exercise/sports.
§ A third of children with asthma say that their condition can result in them being left out of sports activities at school and nearly a quarter of children with asthma miss six or more days of school as a result of the condition.
§ 1 in 8 children under 15 with asthma symptoms experience attacks so severe they can’t speak.
§ Every 17 minutes a child is admitted to hospital in the UK because of their asthma.
§ Asthma is one of the top five causes of emergency hospital admissions among children in England.
§ These sports have built in breaks so may be easier to do for asthmatics: badminton, volleyball and tennis.