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Sunday, January 6, 2008

Neat website I found with old asthma medicines

It's very slow tonight at work, so I spent the majority of my time cleaning my locker, walking the halls looking for work, visiting with my co-workers and friends, and perusing this really cool website I found.

While the number of asthma cases has escalated in recent years, there have been documented cases of the disease going all the way back to ancient times. And, where there is a disease, there is an attempt to find a cure. Or, in the case of asthma, relief.

While I was surfing the net recently I found this really cool website, inhalatorium, which has many antique inhaler and aerosol devices from before the 1950s.

Many of these devices involve a small glass tube with a rubber bulb on one end. A liquid medicine called epinepherine was put into the glass tube and it was turned into a mist by squeezing the bulb. By placing your mouth around the mouthpiece you breathed in the mist. And, if all worked out well, you'd catch your breath.

In 1985, when I was a kid I was given a rubber bulb to use with my nebulizer in case my air compressor was not working, or if the power went out. I used it a few times just because I could. I got the medicine to aerosolize this way, but it took a long time to get the full effect of the medicine, and your hand got awful tired in the process.

I accidentally threw this bulb away when I was moving. It would be cool to still have it, but not as cool as the stuff on this website. I bet these items were hard to come by, and were probably expensive in their time (speculating), but if you had asthma, man it sure would have been "a relief" to have one or more of these.

Along with asthma cigarettes I described in my two previous posts, there were also asthma powders that were put "on a plate and the fumes inhaled through an upturned funnel." The medicine used, usually Belladonna, would make an asthmatic breath easier in 5-20 minutes.

Well I love history. One of these days I'm going to have to buy a book to satiate my growing hunger to learn more about the history of asthma treatment. In the meantime I suppose we're stuck learning things in bits and pieces on the net.

Well, you can check it out. The link is above.

If you guys have any information on asthma history, or know of any other cool sites or books, let me know.


Djanvk said...

Great find, those are interesting pieces of history.

the anonymous therapist said...

This really is a neat website. Thanks for the intriguing link!

Asthma Mom said...

Adding my thanks--I've been loving these history posts, Rick, and those are some scary-looking inhalers.