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Researchers find that most asthma patients do not use inhalers and epinephrine autoinjectors correctly

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(NaturalNews) The convenience of inhalers and epinephrine autoinjectors such as the EpiPen are undoubtedly important ways to help people suffering from asthma. However, according to researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston, the majority of patients are using such medical devices incorrectly, reducing their effectiveness and, in turn, shedding light on ways to improve usage accuracy.(1)

Dr. Rana Bonds, lead author and assistant professor in the department of internal medicine, division of allergy and immunology, said, "Improving how patients use these devices leads to better clinical outcomes." He explains that his team looked into factors linked to incorrect use of epinephrine autoinjectors and inhalers at UTMB so that health care professions could not only be aware of the problem, but engage in more proactive planning to bolster proper usage.(1)

The study, in which 145 patients who were using epinephrine autoinjectors or inhalers demonstrated to researchers how they personally used the devices, showed that just 16 percent were using epinephrine autoinjectors correctly and that 63 percent of inhaler users actually skipped at least three steps.(1)

Common mistakes patients make when using epinephrine autoinjectors and inhalers

Common mistakes included not holding the epinephrine autoinjector in place for a minimum of 10 seconds upon the release of epinephrine. It was also found that people tended to not place the needle end of it on their thigh, as well as not pushing with enough force to allow activation to even take place. Concerning inhalers, people most commonly made the mistake of not exhaling as much as they should prior to its use and not shaking it before administering the second puff.(1)

"We found that incorrect use of these medical devices is still a problem," said Bonds. "Despite the redesign of the autoinjector for easier use, most patients continued to make at least one mistake with the device. Most patients made multiple mistakes and would not have benefitted from self-administration of the potentially life-saving treatment if the need arose."(1)

The findings, which are poised for publication in the January 2015 print edition of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, is titled "Misuse of medical devices: a persistent problem in self-management of asthma and allergic disease." In the article, it's noted that other "...common errors were not realizing that a horn-type sound from the spacer indicated the inhalation was performed imperfectly," and in the case of epinephrine autoinjectors, "The least common error was failing to remove the cap before attempting to use the injector."(2)

The study concludes that "...there is room for improvement in ensuring that patients are able to correctly self-administer medications. Repeated verbal instruction and, perhaps even more effective, repeated visual education, including demonstration using trainer devices, are highly recommended. Novel methods of providing this repetitive training for patients are needed."(2)

According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology, about 300 million people worldwide have asthma, and 250,000 annual deaths are linked to the disease. Furthermore, it's estimated that, by the year 2025, people with asthma will increase by over 100 million.(3)

Beyond medical devices: dietary and lifestyle changes to help control asthma

In addition to using medical devices to manage asthma, people with the disease may want to consider changes to their diet and lifestyle.

It's been found that fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants such as cherries, oranges, kale and broccoli can help reduce asthmatic symptoms in children. Omega-3 fats like those found in salmon and walnuts are also advised for asthma sufferers.(4)

If possible, it's urged to avoid settings where exposure to dust, fumes and gases is frequent, as such environments are responsible for 11 percent of asthma cases on a worldwide basis.(3)


(1) http://www.utmb.edu

(2) http://www.annallergy.org

(3) http://www.aaaai.org

(4) http://www.livestrong.com

About the author:
A science enthusiast with a keen interest in health nutrition, Antonia has been intensely researching various dieting routines for several years now, weighing their highs and their lows, to bring readers the most interesting info and news in the field. While she is very excited about a high raw diet, she likes to keep a fair and balanced approach towards non-raw methods of food preparation as well. >>> Click here to see more by Antonia

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