Children who have asthma as well as I their parents may be incorrectly assessing their asthma in inhaler medication levels, according to a study

The Study

Researchers questioned 50 asthmatic children and their parents on proper inhaler use and how they determined the level of medication in their inhalers.

The study found that 78% of the children and parents knew to shake the inhaler before use-but only half actually shook it when they were asked to demonstrate how they use it.

Of the participants in the study, 72% said they thought the inhaler was empty when it didn't make a puffing sound when it was used. However, researchers say this approach is inaccurate.

The number of audible puff sounds in each inhaler was much higher than the number of doses listed by the manufacturer. This means the patients continued to use inhalers after there was no medication in them.

Some patients and their parents floated inhalers in water to figure out how much medicine was left in the inhalers.

This method is also inaccurate and dangerous, because water can collect at the top of the valve system, the study notes.

Best Bet

The most accurate way to keep track of medication levels in an inhaler, the researchers say, is to count the number of puffs and match them to the number of doses that are listed on the inhaler by the manufacturer. However, few asthma patients are given instructions on this method.

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