Thanks to connected medical devices, it's more possible to determine if children are taking their medication as prescribed.
Many children have asthma - 6.2 million in the U.S. alone. Asthma is the third-ranking cause of hospitalizations for children under age 15 and the leading cause of missed school days for those between the ages of 5 and 17. 1,2
To help manage their symptoms, it’s essential that children with asthma follow an asthma action plan as prescribed by their doctor. These plans typically detail children’s daily treatments, including what kind of medicines to take and when to take them. The plan describes how to control asthma long term, and how to deal with worsening asthma symptoms or attacks. It also specifies when to call the doctor or go to the emergency room.
However, it’s not always easy to make sure children follow their action plan. Some inadvertently sabotage their doctor’s and parents’ best efforts by skipping their inhaler medicines—and when they do, they often end up in an emergency situation.
Parents should work with healthcare professionals to ensure their children:
- Follow their prescribed asthma action plan.
- Always use a holding chamber/spacer and inhale medicine properly
- Regularly use a peak flow meter to assess their condition
- Avoid asthma triggers from the environment, as well as foods that cause allergies
- Have enough asthma medications
Most parents do their best to adhere to the asthma action plan, and remind their children to take inhaler medicines as they should. Yet children sometimes feel like they are being nagged, and ignore their medication altogether. This happens especially when children enter into their teenage years. They may even lie about not using their inhalers because they don’t want to be bothered.
Even when they do understand the importance of medication, it can be hard for a busy child to remember when take their inhaler medications. Or, in some cases, a child will neglect to take their medication because they feel just fine.
Skipping Inhaler Medicines Puts Children at Risk.
Skipping a dose of inhaled controller medicine may not have an immediate effect. Yet, over time, the child’s airways can become inflamed and irritated to the point where a rescue medicine won’t be enough. When exposed to an asthma trigger, the child will be at risk for an asthma attack. Not using their fast-acting inhaler during this situation can put them in a life-threatening situation where a visit to the emergency room is required.
The Solution? Connected Medical Devices
Digital health is now the go-to solution for many doctors and parents when it comes to managing a child’s asthma. These connected devices monitor inhaler use and tell doctors and parents when the child has taken or missed a dose of their inhaler medicines.
When a child takes or misses a dose, the information is sent directly to the parent’s smartphone. The application also stores the data securely on a cloud-based server where their child’s healthcare provider can access it (if the parents grants them access).
The smart device accurately records the time each dose is taken. If the child is using their inhaler too often, this may indicate an asthma flare up or emergency situation. The parent are notified on their smartphone and can contact their doctor for directions. Smart devices also provide the information to help identify symptoms and potential triggers that may be worsening the child’s asthma.
Connected medical devices such as smart sensors for inhalers are contributing to a digital health revolution in asthma care. These devices are already making it much easier for children to take their inhaled medications as prescribed, keep symptoms under control, and breathe more easily. For parents unsure about their child’s medication usage, a smart sensor may be the right choice.