Exercise-Induced Asthma

 
Running around and playing can lead to wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath.

Kevin Murphy, M.D.
Boys Town Allergy, Asthma and Pediatric Pulmonology

Exercise is an important part of a child’s growth and development. Not only does exercise help children grow physically strong, but mentally strong as well. Exercise induced asthma can greatly hinder a child’s exercise routine, or sideline him altogether. There are ways to reduce or eliminate exercise-induced asthma so your child can enjoy the exercise he needs.

Asthma is a chronic lung disease. It causes wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. Exercise-induced asthma is a form of asthma that causes problems during or after physical activity.

The symptoms of exercise-induced asthma generally begin within 5 to 20 minutes after the start of exercise, or 5 to 10 minutes after exercise has stopped.

Symptoms of exercise-induced asthma:

  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness
  • Fatigue

Certain environmental conditions such as cold air, high or low humidity, air pollution or elevated air allergens may increase exercise-induced asthma.

Reduce exercise-induced asthma

If your child has exercise induced asthma, he or she does not need to avoid all exercise or physical activities. To reduce exercise-induced asthma:

  • Have your child perform warm-up exercises before a vigorous workout
  • Avoid strenuous activity in cold, dry air or wear a mask
  • Speak to your child’s doctor about using a quick-relief medicine 15 to 30 minutes before exercise

Asthma may interfere with daily activities and exercise, especially during strenuous activities. Knowing the right steps and procedures to improve asthma control will help your child lead a healthy life. If you feel that you are having troubles controlling your child’s asthma, contact your child’s physician.