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Joined: Feb 10, 2016

I am the father of a child who was recently diagnosed with [...]

Posted by @jandy, Feb 10, 2016

I am the father of a child who was recently diagnosed with asthma. He was recently put on a inhaler with a spacer, which he absolutely hates using. I don’t know what exactly about it he doesn’t like about the but I think it might be the way the mask covers his nose and mouth at the same time. It is a battle every time I try and get him to use it. We don’t go see the doctor again for a couple of weeks so I was just wondering if anyone else might have any advice about how to make the process easier for the child? Is using it something he will get used to if we just stick with it? We are pretty new at this so I would love to hear from some others regarding their experiences. Thanks.



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Posted by @thaddeusgriffin, Feb 11, 2016

@jandy I have a niece who is 5 years old and was recently diagnosed with a reactive airway. She was prescribed an inhaler with a spacer and mask as well. They used it for a couple of weeks but eventually found that she actually did better when they removed the mask and let her use just the tube. Might be worth a try. Best of luck!


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Joined: Jan 27, 2016
Posted by @lendychapman, Feb 16, 2016

How old is he? With a lot of kids it can really feel restrictive, but if he’s old enough, some education about why he has to use the mask and ask what can be done to help make it easier for him may shed some light as to why he’s having a hard time with it. Otherwise, maybe setting up some sort of reward system could help….just small things to allow him to earn something at the end if he uses it without much fuss or struggle. If it does continue to be a problem, though, and he isn’t getting the medication he needs, definitely give his doctor a call for their suggestions!


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Posted by @jandy, Feb 17, 2016

My son just turned 4. We have tried it with the mask and without the mask and it seems to be getting a little easier. He definitely doesn’t look forward to it but I think it helps that he is starting to realize that he feels better when he uses it. Thanks everyone for the suggestions. Is there anyone else who has a young child with asthma who can give me some tips or hints on what other challenges I might have in store?


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Posted by @CourtneySchmidt, Mar 9, 2016

@jandy Sorry that this is response is delayed, but I reached out to one of our physicians to get her take on this issue. Here’s the response from Dr. Melissa Velarde:

The spacer can be intimidating at first to a child. It is a mask that covers their nose and mouth and it is not something that they have experienced in the past. One way you can help your child understand that the spacer is not something to be afraid of is to use a stuffed animal, like a teddy bear, and show them how the spacer is placed on the teddy bear. It is important to show them that it will not hurt, that they will be safe, and that it will not be on for a long period of time. Once you show them what the spacer is and how it is placed on the teddy bear, then you can have them role play and be the one that places the spacer on the teddy bear. You can also pair this with a regard behavior (stickers or verbally giving praise).

Consistency is also important. Just like a regard system can be used to encourage the child to use the spacer, if you end up not using it because they cry or don’t like it- that will act as a positive reinforcement to encourage the child to continue to cry because they will know that this is how they will get to not use the spacer. If despite using the techniques mentioned above, the child does not like the spacer, you do need to continue to use it. At the end of using the spacer I would just take the time to remind the child that you love them and that the medicine will help them feel better.

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