Turning inhaler use into a game might help young children with asthma overcome their fear of the devices, according to a small British study. Researchers tested an app that matches inhaler use with cartoon images, like blowing out a fire or banishing a bad guy with a puff of air.

All [patients] said they enjoyed playing the game, and 91% said it helped them take their medication. An overwhelming majority of parents – 13 out of 14 – also said they thought the app helped their child to use their spacer. They said it helped their child accept the spacer and made them calmer.

The parent of a five-year-old who took part said: “He doesn’t normally take inhalers but came in last night and required frequent inhalers. He was having hourly inhalers and seemed unsettled and frightened at taking the medication. The Rafi-tone app helped ease his concerns and acted as a distraction whilst breathing in the medication.”

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