Steroid inhalers are used to control respiratory ailment such as asthma or other inflammatory conditions. They work by reducing inflammation in the airways. This helps by alleviating wheeze and breathlessness. Examples of steroid inhalers used by children include Becotide and Flixotide, and for adults also Symbicort, Seretide, Pulmicort etc. Steroid inhalers are often known as ‘preventor inhalers’
They are prescribed for both children and adults at varying doses. Most people suffer from no side effects but there is one thing which can really help to make sure you or your child fall into that category – It’s as simple as rinsing your mouth after using your inhaler!
Steroid inhalers can cause oral thrush, a sore mouth or hoarseness.
Oral thrush is a term used to describe a fungal infection in the mouth caused by the yeast fungus Candida albicans. This fungus is actually present in everyone’s mouth and it doesn’t normally cause problems but if it gets the better of your immune system it can overgrow and cause symptomatic infection. Babies are more at risk of this than adults because their immune systems are not as strong or developed and are therefore more susceptible to infection. To read all about the symptoms of oral thrush and it’s treatment in babies click here!
Inhalers can be used by inhaling directly from the mouthpiece of the inhaler as prescribed by your doctor or by using a device known as a ‘spacer’ or ‘aerochamber’.
- When using a spacer with a mask with your child it is important to remember to wipe around their mouth after use.
- Ideally you can brush your teeth after using your inhaler, but if this isn’t convenient just rinse your mouth with water and spit it out.
- A baby toothbrush or even a clean damp facecloth can be used to clean gently inside your babies mouth and around their mouth and nose after using an inhaler.
Sometimes the simple solutions are the best – and by making the effort to ensure you rinse you or your babies mouth after using a steroid inhaler you reduce the likelihood of any issue before they begin!