Medicines used by pre-school children with asthma are no different from those used by older children.

The most effective way of treating asthma is by delivering the medicine directly to the lungs through an inhaler.

The type of device used must suit the child’s age and ability.

Your doctor, nurse or asthma educator will explain your choices.

Here is a general guide only:

Age 0-3 years: A spacer device with a small mask may be used with medicines delivered by a Metered Dose Inhaler (MDI). The medicine remains suspended in the spacer for 15-30 seconds, allowing time for the child to take it in while taking six normal breaths. It is quite common for children to object to having a mask placed on their face, but rest assured – most children adapt in time.

3-5 years: At about three years a mouthpiece can replaced the mask. Liquid medicines may be used, but these are slower acting with more side effects.

5 years+: Children in this age group can continue to use spacers (without a mask) and the powder medicine devices – Accuhaler, Turbuhaler.

12 years+: There is no need to change medicine or device unless there is a problem.

At all ages, checks need to be made to see that the inhaler device is used properly and that the lowest dose is used to achieve good asthma control. Your doctor or asthma educator can offer you tips if you have problems giving your child inhalers.