Student Health News: Could this inhaler help combat bullying at school?

Your health is as important whilst at school, college or University as your academic progress. Asthma has long been a major health issue for young people and can have major repercussions on your education. Young Academic has discovered a way for youngsters to combat the affliction without baring the brunt of teasing from their peers…

Generations of asthmatic school children have suffered at the hands of playground bullies because of their inhalers.

Even though sporting stars such as David Beckham, Frank Lampard and Rebecca Adlington have talked about their asthma, suffering from the condition is still seen as ‘uncool’.

However, the world’s smallest known inhaler is helping to combat the bullying issue because it is not only effective but also discreet – allowing children as young as six to use it.

Statistics show that bullying is a concern for 30 per cent of children with severe asthma. Asthmatic children, who often feel conscious about being different to others in their school, are more likely to experience shyness, teasing and bullying about using their inhalers.

A third of children with asthma say that their condition can result in them being left out of sports activities at school.

Small enough to fit into the palm of a child’s hand, Easyhaler is the first on the market to come with its own protective case to help keep it clean.

A recent study by University College London analysed 49 used asthma inhalers collected by respiratory nurses and discovered that 1 in 4 inhalers were found to contain bacteria. This is because children have a habit of keeping their inhaler in their pocket, bag or desk drawers where it collects dirt and dust. Easyhaler’s case could help to solve this problem.

Easyhaler also has a metered dose counter so children and their parents can see how much drug is left, can contain double the standard doseage (which, when used by adults, halves prescription fees), and is breath activated which makes it extremely simple for children as young as six to use.

Asthma is the most common chronic childhood illness and affects 1.1 million children in the UK. On average there are three children with asthma in every classroom in the UK. And every 17 minutes a child is admitted to hospital in the UK because of their condition.

Signs that a child is not managing the condition properly include coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.

Often asthmatic children don’t use their inhalers when they should because they don’t like being stared at in the playground or in lessons. They don’t want to stand out and be different to everyone else. They can also be seen as disruptive in class with their frequent coughing and wheezing.

Easyhaler is easy for them to keep in their pockets, comes with an ingenious mouthpiece which ensures the drug is inhaled correctly and at the right dose and is ready to use in a quick click. The case can be personalised with fun stickers so it looks less medical. It allows children to quickly carry on with their school life.

Other famous asthmatics include marathon runner Paula Radcliffe, the actresses Lindsay Lohan and Elizabeth Taylor, and pop star Pink.

Professor Henry Chrystyn, Professor of Clinical Pharmacy, University of Bradford, leads an internationally recognised research group that investigates all aspects of inhalers. He says the device is easier to use and inhale from.

He says: ‘Easyhaler’s combination of effective characteristics, which includes consistent dosing irrespective of the patient’s inhalation technique, make it an ideal inhaler and its acceptance among patients should help to improve patient compliance with their asthma medication.’

The range of easy-to-use Easyhalers will save the NHS hundreds of thousands of pounds as they are a fraction of the cost of current dry-powder inhalers.

They will also simplify asthma management by allowing doctors to prescribe two popular asthma drugs – salbutamol and budesonide – from the same type of dry powder inhaler for the first time.

Easyhaler is available on prescription from GPs.

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