Updated 16 September 2014

Wouldn't it be easier and simpler to give my child a tablet or syrup instead of worrying if he is inhaling the correct dosage?

With an inhaler the medication is delivered directly into the airways of the lungs. The medication is going directly to the site where it's needed.


With an inhaler the medication is delivered directly into the airways of the lungs. Because the medication is going directly to the site where it’s needed, smaller doses can be used and any side effects minimised.

But take note that a new type of medication, leukotriene inhibitors are the latest drugs developed to treat asthma. They are currently used as add-on therapy to inhaled corticosteroids, when single therapy with the inhaled corticosteroids is insufficient to gain symptom control. Leukotriene inhibitors may also help treat patients with allergic rhinitis, exercise-induced asthma or ASA (aspirin sensitive asthma). Being a tablet (some taken once a day, some twice a day) makes it easier to give to very young and very old patients - or to those with poor spacer co-ordination.

This oral treatment may reduce the need for high doses of inhaled or oral corticosteroids.

Talk to your doctor. He will be able to prescribe the medication best suited for your child.

And don’t worry too much about whether or not your child will be able to inhale – research shows that children of all ages are able to inhale medicine. Just let him relax and do it. There are also a number of spacer devices available which make it easier to administer medication to babies and toddlers. Spacer devices and masks are attachments that fit onto pressurised aerosol inhalers and these make it much easier for a child to inhale his medication.

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Professor Keertan Dheda has received of several prestigious awards including the 2014 Oppenheimer Award, and has published over 160 peer-reviewed papers and holds 3 patents related to new TB diagnostic or infection control technologies. He serves on the editorial board of the journals PLoS One, the International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Medicine, Lancet Respiratory Diseases and Nature Scientific Reports, amongst others.Read his full biography at the University of Cape Town Lung Institute

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