Approximately nine million children in the United States have asthma and experience the wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath or chest tightness that comes with it.
Most children with a history of asthma will experience exercise-induced asthma (EIA); however, this doesn’t mean they shouldn’t participate in sports. With the right plan and medicines, many children with asthma can participate in any sport.
Prevent or Lessen EIA
Actions that will help your child prevent or lessen EIA include:
- Warming up before exercise.
- Breathing through the nose, and not the mouth, to warm and humidify the air before it enters the airways.
- Using a doctor prescribed pre-exercise inhaler.
- During cold weather, have your child wear a scarf over the mouth and nose, so that the air breathed in is warm and easier to inhale.
Wheezing or coughing that begins between five to 20 minutes after beginning to run or play is a sign that asthma is not under control and more needs to be done to control symptoms and it may be time to speak with your health care provider.
When to See a Doctor
Medical treatment is needed if your child, or team member demonstrates:
- Shortness of breath or wheezing that continues to worsen.
- No improvement even after using an inhaler.
- Shortness of breath that continues even after they have stopped activity and had time to rest
Communication Is Important
Provide a copy of your child’s asthma action plan to teachers, the school nurse and or coaches.