These weren’t the clinical-looking, L-shaped canister devices people think of when they picture an asthma medication inhaler.
We saw a vibrant variety of creative designs and colors. Some who entered envisioned inhalers cast as everyday fashion items and accessories, and others drew inhalers in fun, snazzy shapes sure to be envied just as much as that next new smartphone. Beyond skin deep, some included better inhaler functionality — things like dosage counters or a reminder when to take your medication. There were inhalers combined with other medical devices for asthma, and even ways to deliver medication that didn’t look or work at all like a traditional inhaler.
We were thrilled with the entries for the Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA) Ultimate Inhaler Contest that filled our mailbox, and we’re just as thrilled to share with you our selected finalists. The winner will participate in Washington, DC on May 10, 2012 at Allergy & Asthma Day Capitol Hill, where advocates, members of Congress, pharmaceutical industry representatives and others work to ensure every person with asthma receives care according to the National Institutes of Health Asthma Guidelines.
Category 1 – Ages 5-11
Get Ready to Fly!
Kate Smeenge, 10
Crystal Lake, IL
Kate’s ultimate inhaler entry is an inhaler shaped like a butterfly. It features a screw-on cap (complete with butterfly antennae) to protect the mouthpiece and two smiley-faced buttons to dispense medicine. Kate’s inhaler includes readouts of how many medication puffs are remaining as well as the patient’s scheduled treatments: “Take once in the morning / Take twice at night.” The cost of the inhaler is $10.
Men’s and Women’s Inhaler Necklaces
Mia Catalini, 11, and
Cassandra Tervalon, 10
Mia and Cassandra’s entry has lots of cool options! The women’s version of the necklace features interchangeable topaz, ruby, sapphire and amethyst gemstones; the men’s version comes in baseball, football, soccer, basketball and bicycling designs.
“The necklace inhaler would be easy to use. You would just put your mouth on the mouthpiece and press the button. The medicine would shoot out of the mouthpiece and into your mouth. On the girl/women version, the jewel can easily pop off and be replaced with a different jewel. It would be easier than a regular inhaler because you would have it right there around your neck. It would also be good for runners with asthma. It could be for anyone with asthma because we have a girl/woman version and a boy/man version.
The girl/woman version would be more expensive because of the jewels. It would cost around $35-$40. If you get a full set, you get the necklace and all of the
jewels for about $60-$70. The boys’ version would be more like $25-$30.”
Category 2 – Ages 12-18
The Bunny Inhaler
Lindsay Brenneman, 13
Lindsay’s fun, rabbit-shaped inhaler device would be refillable with asthma medication.
“Description: Inhaler is a bunny. The tail is the button you push for the medicine. You put your mouth on the ‘carrot’ to get your medicine.
How to work the Bunny Inhaler: You push the bunny’s tail and the medicine goes to the ‘carrot’ opening. When you need to fill it up, you pop off the cap on the belly and you can refill the bunny.”
‘Unisaur’ Inhaler/Holding Chamber Combo
Rachael Blaine, 12
Rachael’s colorful and inventive inhaler is meant for young children and features a built-in holding chamber.
“My invention is designed for little kids. It’s a mix between a dinosaur and a unicorn.
How it works is you pull down on the tail and it releases medicine into the body, which is a built-in holding chamber. Then you breathe in the medicine through the arm. It also has a dose counter on its back.”
Heather Koterwas, 12
Dinosaur Jaws or Princess Crown Peak Flow Meter
Although contest rules specified this was a contest to design the “Ultimate Inhaler,” we loved Heather’s peak flow meter entry and thought it deserved an honorable
“Are you bored when you use your peak flow meter? Well, my invention is to make peak flow meters more fun!
I drew a dinosaur mouth for boys and a princess crown for girls. The black curve on the top of the crown is where the girl blows into and the black curve in the teeth is where the boy blows into.
These are only some designs — many designs could be made. Plus these peak flow meters can go anywhere and they can bend to be portable.”
Category 3 – Over 18
Gail McCarthy, RN, BSN, NCSN
Gail — the school nurse for Mia and Cassandra, whose joint entry is featured in Category 1 — sketched out a number of great ideas for the contest. Here are the ones we selected!
Single-use Inhaler Powder Strips
“Size of a stick of gum or smaller. Convenient, waterproof, flat strips fit in pocket or purse. Easier than carrying an inhaler.
Made of paper or cloth, with raised circular center that is covered in foil or plastic wrap. Medicine is under wrap in center or in a ‘pod’ you pop like bubble wrap to
release the powder. Remove/pop wrap and inhale deeply while pressing against pursed lips. Color: a calming light blue for fast-acting inhaler medicine or green for long-term inhaler medicine.
Cost: Priceless (just kidding)! Perhaps $30 for 200 strips.”
“For people with arthritis, the elderly, or others with problems holding an
inhaler. Features rippled finger indentations and can be used with or without
strap to hold in place. Looks like a mini camcorder grip and strap; ripples look like the indentations on an old-fashioned car steering wheel or when you squeeze a
glob of Play-Doh® in your hand. You slip your fingers between the rippled indentations and the strap, although the strap is optional. Color: a calming light
Cost: $25 (asthma meds are far too expensive!).”
“This is an inhaler in the shape and size of a 4-inch pen, with clip to place in a pocket or purse.
Press pen to activate mist of medication. Can personalize with name and comes in variety of colors. Refillable medication tube inside.
Cost:$35, complete with 200 medication doses.”