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Pediatrician teaches parents of children with asthma the correct way to take medicine

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Albany/HV: Pediatrician teaches parents of children with asthma the correct way to take medicine
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A pediatrician at Montefiore Children’s Hospital teaches parents of kids with asthma the proper way to take medicine because many families don't know the correct way. Erin Billups has more.

Like most seven-year-old boys, being able to run fast and play is a priority for Dominik Meadows.

"I like to play football,” said Dominik Meadows.

That’s why his mother, Roxanne, said it's so important that he takes his asthma medication and benefits from it. But according to a study done by a Montefiore Children's Hospital pediatrician Dr. Marina Reznik, the vast majority of parents and caregivers do not administer asthma medicine properly, failing to follow the federally recommended steps.

"Out of 169 caregivers of these children, only one knew all ten steps and six or less than four percent knew five essential steps,” said Reznik.

Reznik said using the inhaler and spacer incorrectly could lead to the medicine being less effective.

"Thus the parents may not want to administer it, thinking that it hasn't worked,” she said.

Reznik's team visited the homes of 169 black and Latino children with persistent asthma in the Bronx. They noted how caregivers administered the medicine and showed them the correct technique.

"At first I used to just do the two puffs because I didn't know,” said Roxanne Meadows.

Meadow showed how she gives Dominik his medicine, but missed a couple of steps.

"Caregivers and parents need repeated assessment of their technique because we forget,” Reznik said.

So Reznik walked us through the proper steps: Shake the inhaler several times, insert it into the spacer, make sure the child's nose and mouth are completely covered.

"Use your index finger on the top, thumb on the bottom, and you just press one time,” Reznik instructed Meadows. “Then you wait and you count, as you did correctly, to six."

Caregivers need to watch to make sure the child is breathing in and out with each count.
Then wait 30 seconds before doing it all over again for the second dose.

"Why is it important that you take your medicine?" Erin Billups asked Dominik.

"To be healthy,” he said.

To keep kids healthy and out of the emergency room, Reznik suggests that on top of health providers walking through the techniques at each office visit, targeted in-home interventions with families may also be necessary.

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