Incorrect inhaler use in children with asthma leads to worsened symptoms, but better education and community programs can mitigate these consequences. Community programs can decrease healthcare disparities and ensure all children have access to proper asthma care.
- Inhalers for asthma are often used incorrectly, leading to worsened symptoms and side effects.
- Educating children and their families on proper inhaler use will improve the quality of life for children with asthma.
- Funding for community programs will decrease the healthcare disparity in children with asthma.
Asthma is the leading cause of healthcare utilization in children. Although asthma is manageable with the use of preventative and rescue inhalers, societal barriers make it difficult for children to properly control their symptoms, according to a study in the Journal of Asthma.
Disparities in Prescription Access and Inhaler Use
Inequitable community factors put some children at an increased risk for asthma while decreasing their healthcare access. Black or Latinx children, children with public insurance, and those who utilize clinics or community health centers are less likely to be prescribed inhalers than their counterparts. Expensive out-of-pocket costs prevent families from receiving prescription drugs, which increases their need for treatment in the future.
Additionally, inhalers are often used incorrectly, leading to worsened symptoms and side effects. Maintenance inhalers and rescue inhalers contain different medications, so educating families about their proper use is critical for effective disease management. Standardizing instructions, encouraging conversations with clinicians, and increasing education about asthma in schools will facilitate proper use.
Community Programs to Reduce Disparities
Increasing diversity among healthcare staff and culturally tailoring education materials has been effective in community clinics. Expanding mobile health tools can improve accessibility to healthcare. Programs that increase awareness of symptoms, improve education, and provide guidance about covered medications can be implemented to reduce disparity.
Inhaler proficiency is necessary to improve symptom management in children with asthma.
With new medications being developed regularly, educating families to ensure appropriate inhaler use will decrease the burden. Funding for community programs focusing on education and prescription access should be expanded to meet these needs.
Addressing Barriers to Improve Asthma Care
The process of obtaining critical asthma medications for children and ensuring proper usage is unnecessarily complex, leading to disparities in healthcare. Healthcare providers must be aware of the impact of these barriers on their patients and take a comprehensive approach to address them.
Bickel, S., Cohen, R. T., Needleman, J. P., & Volerman, A. (2022). Appropriate inhaler use in children with asthma: barriers and opportunities through the lens of the socio-ecological model. Journal of Asthma, 1-11. https://doi.org/10.1080/02770903.2022.2152352