How many of your kids suffer with Asthma? [Dr Carmen]

How many of your kids suffer with Asthma? *By DrCarmen – Follow her on Instagram here @momdoc_sa

Did you know that the prevalence of asthma in South Africa is amongst the highest in the world and we are ranked fifth for asthma mortality?

Unfortunately, asthma cannot be prevented or cured but it can be managed. When children are diagnosed with asthma they are usually prescribed two different inhalers. One is for maintenance and contains an anti-inflammatory, and the other is to relieve acute symptoms.

This inhaler is usually blue and contains short-acting beta2 agonists, which provide immediate relief by opening up the airways. For over 30 years the management of asthma has focused on increasing the use of SABA reliever inhalers.

However, new research shows that asthma patients should actually be using their maintenance inhalers more often. It has been shown that when patients become reliant on their SABA reliever inhalers they are at increased risk of asthma attacks because these inhalers can actually mask the symptoms of worsening asthma.

If your child has to use their blue reliever inhaler three or more times a week, then this is a red flag.

There is a free online reliance test you can take to find out if your child is over-reliant on their SABA inhaler which you can find here –

It’s important your children know how to use their metered-dose inhaler correctly. If they don’t then the right amount of medicine will never reach their airways and your child may actually end up overusing his or her inhaler as a result!

This is why using a spacer is so important for children as it helps get the medicine into the lungs better.

How to use a metered-dose inhaler with a spacer:

  1. Assemble spacer
  2. Remove inhaler cap
  3. Hold inhaler upright and shake well
  4. Insert inhaler upright into the end of the spacer
  5. Hold the inhaler between your index finger and thumb⠀
  6. Put the end of the spacer into your mouth, between your teeth and above your tongue and close lips around the spacer to create a seal
  7. Hold spacer level and press down on the inhaler to release one spray
  8. Breathe in and out slowly through your mouth for 3 or 4 breaths to pull the medicine into the lungs. Taking several breaths is often easier for young children to manage than one deep breath. One nice big breath is ok for older kids. Note: some spacers make a whistling sound if one inhales too quickly.
  9. Remove spacer from mouth
  10. If more than one dose is needed, repeat all steps from step 3
  11. Remove inhaler from the spacer
  12. Replace cap
  13. Disassemble spacer


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A post shared by Dr Carmen MBBCH MPH (@momdoc_sa)

*Please note that the content discussed on my Instagram account is purely for informational purposes and not a substitute for informed medical advice.


“I am a general practitioner and have spent most of my working career practicing medicine in the Emergency Room. I guess I love the adrenalin rush and the copious amounts of caffeine that needs to be consumed to get through a shift! Seeing patients in an emergency setting after an accident or with chronic end-stage disease made me realise my passion for disease prevention, health education and promotion. I wanted to be able to help my patient before he ended up in my ER.

With a focus on Child Health, I completed my Masters in Public Health and started my business, OneAid. I have also created this blog to share my journey as a MomDoc with you. I hope to share some useful information and tips around various child health and safety topics at home, at play and on the go to help keep your little ones healthy and safe.”

33 thoughts on “How many of your kids suffer with Asthma? [Dr Carmen]

  1. GENEVIEVE says:

    Thank you Dr. Carmen, it always good to read this info again especially when you have such a patient in your house. My daughter is yrs old and she had to be taught how to use the spacer since she is at daycare. She is so beautiful at doing it and knows exactly what dosage she needs when she feels the wheezing .

    • Zulpha says:

      Thank you Dr Carmen. Very informative. My daughter was diagnosed with asthma at the age of 5 when she had her first asthma attack. I try my best to let her keep it under control. But when its change of season it does affect her chest as well.

  2. bsizini says:

    Thanks for more info about asthma, my daughter got it but i don’t like pumps just scared she can forget it when she goes to school, and also she will rely on it, i am using tablets but she is manageable with tablets she is not on red flag.

    • mariscahendricks5 says:

      It is very helpful as it I went through it with my daughter when she was smaller and not a lot of parents know about the chamber and struggle to assist there kids with the correct doze of sprays

      • DESIREE says:

        My son suffers from asthma and I have found the article very interesting. He is six years old and he takes it to school. Sometimes I fear that when he has an attack, the person who assists him in using the inhaler may not fully know how to use it. I will print this information and place it in his school bag together with the inhaler . The directions are easy to follow. Thank you.

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