Why Does My Child Need to Take Asthma Medications?

Taking asthma medications on time and in the correct dose can help manage asthma symptoms in the short-term and long-term. It can also help keep your child’s asthma symptoms from happening less often.

What Are the Different Types of Asthma Medications?

The most important treatment for asthma is to keep your child away from his asthma triggers as much as possible. In addition to this, some children might also need medications to manage their symptoms.

Some common treatments include:

  • Long-acting inhalers to control symptoms every day (also called controller or maintenance inhalers)
  • Rescue inhalers to use in emergencies
  • Nebulizer medications (medications breathed into the lungs through a nebulizer machine)
  • Oral steroids (medications taken by mouth to help control inflammation in the lungs)

The Inhaler Medication Tastes Funny. What Can I Do?

Asthma medication through an inhaler sometimes have a metallic taste that can be unpleasant for children. After your child takes his medication, have him rinse his mouth out with water.

What is a Nebulizer Machine?

A nebulizer is a machine that helps deliver asthma medications into the lungs. The asthma medication used in a nebulizer starts out as a liquid and turns into a flavorless mist that your child breathes in over a certain amount of time.

Sometimes, nebulizers are easier for young children to use than inhalers. Not every child needs a nebulizer.

Who Can I Ask If I Have Questions?

Ask your child’s care team if you have questions or concerns.

How to use an inhaler

Your child’s doctor might prescribe one or more inhalers, depending on your child’s needs and symptoms. The steps below work for both controller and rescue inhalers.

If your child’s inhaler has different instructions than the ones below, ask the care team or a local pharmacist.

      Shake the inhaler up and down for 10 seconds. Remove the cap from the mouthpiece.
      Have your child breathe all the air out of his lungs. At the end of the breath, have your child wrap his lips fully and tightly around the mouthpiece.
      On your child’s next inhale (breath in), press down once on the inhaler. This releases the medication into your child’s mouth.
      Have your child take a deep breath in to get the medication as deep into the lungs as possible. Do not remove the inhaler from his mouth.
      Have your child hold his breath for 10 seconds.
      If your child needs another dose, repeat steps 2-5 until he takes the correct dose.
      Have your child rinse his mouth with water.

How to use an inhaler with a spacer and mask

A spacer is a tube that attaches to the mouthpiece on an inhaler. A spacer, along with a mask, is helpful if your child has trouble keeping his mouth tight around the mouthpiece when taking his medications. It also helps get the medication deeper into the lungs. The steps below work for both controller and rescue inhalers.

If your child’s inhaler has different instructions than the ones below, ask the care team or a local pharmacist.

  • Shake the inhaler up and down for 10 seconds. Remove the cap from the mouthpiece.
      Insert the mouthpiece into the end of the spacer without the mask. Attach the mask to the other end of the spacer.
      Have your child breathe all the air out of his lungs. At the end of the breath, cover your child’s nose and mouth with the mask.
      On your child’s next inhale (breath in), press down once on the inhaler. This releases the medication into your child’s mouth.
      Have your child take a deep breath in to get the medication as deep into the lungs as possible. Do not remove the mask from his face.
      Have your child hold his breath for 10 seconds.
      If your child needs another dose, repeat steps 2-5 until he takes the correct dose.
      Have your child rinse his mouth with water.
Rev. 12/2017
This webpage is intended to provide health information so that you can be better informed. It is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to treatment of any medical conditions.

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