BACKGROUND: Asthma and other chronic airway diseases can be effectively treated by inhaler therapy. Inhaler therapy depends on appropriate use of the inhaler. This study evaluates the knowledge among Dutch children and their parents regarding asthma inhaler therapy and appropriateness of its use.
FINDINGS: Five general practices selected all children aged 0 to 12 years on asthma inhalation medication. Children demonstrated inhaler use and were interviewed with their parents.46 subjects were enrolled; mean age 5.5 years (SD 3.4) years; 26 (57%) were boys. Of the children using one inhaler only, 70% used the inhaler as indicated and of those using more than one inhaler 46%. On average 2.6 mistakes were made during demonstration of the technique, and 2 mistakes were reported in the interview. In total, 87% of the parents decided when and how the inhaler had to be used. Spacer cleaning was performed correctly by 49%; 26% reported a correct way of assessing how many doses were remaining.
CONCLUSION: Dutch children make essential mistakes related to inhaler use that are easy to avoid. We recommend a better explanation and demonstration of the technique, and recommend involvement of the parents during instruction.