Smart Inhaler Project Aims to Reduce Asthma Attacks Among LA’s Low-Income Children

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A new pilot project in Los Angeles County aims to reduce the burden of childhood asthma in low-income communities and on the public health system by putting “smart” inhalers in the hands of kids.

Led by the recently formed non-profit group SmartAirLA, the project will distribute inhalers with Bluetooth sensors to about 150 low-income, asthmatic children. The inhalers will remind children when it’s time to take their medication and help parents and doctors track whether kids are following their medication regimen correctly. The inhalers will also collect information about when and where children experience asthma attacks, allowing researchers to identify asthmatic hotspots that can potentially be mitigated through government and community action, such as rerouting traffic or planting trees.

The program is modeled on a similar effort in Louisville, Ky.,which resulted in citywide policies to improve air quality in certain locations, and found that people who used the smart inhalers had 82 percent fewer asthma attacks.

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