My child has exercise-induced asthma. Now what?
Look across the U.S. and you see playgrounds full of kids running, skipping, climbing, and jumping. All familiar and favorite activities of childhood.
But not for everyone.
Dr. Eric Small, M.D. in his book, Kids & Sports, suggests that as many as 15% of American children have varying degrees of breathing problems that make exercise difficult.
Lots of kids suffer from asthma, a chronic condition in which the airways in the lungs narrow, become swollen, and fill with mucous, making it very hard to breathe.
If you suffer from asthma or other chronic breathing conditions, playing sports and doing physical activity can be uncomfortable.
But the good news is, asthma does not have to mean the end of sports!
Just ask U.S. track star, Jack Joyner Kersee.
She found a way to successfully balance training and medication to keep her asthma in check and go on to win gold medals in the 1988 and 1992 Olympic games!
When you are physically active, your heart beats faster and you breathe faster so your lungs can deliver oxygen to the working muscles of your body.
Breathing faster usually means inhaling through your mouth instead of your nose which cools and dries the air going to your lungs. This cooler, drier air causes the air passages to constrict, triggering asthma symptoms.
So what triggers an asthma attack? Well, lots of things.
It's important to recognize the symptoms so you can take action if needed. You may only exhibit one:
Symptoms typically show up 5-20 minutes after the start of exercise, and they may be worse 5-10 minutes after exercise is over.
(Dr. Eric Small, M.D., Kids & Sports: Everything You and Your Child Need to Know About Sports, Physical Activity, and Good Health - A Doctor's Guide for Parents and Coaches)
So, which kids sports are best if my child has exercise-induced asthma?
Best - These sports are least likely to trigger asthma attacks:
Worst - These sports may be more likely to trigger asthma symptoms:
Want to ensure your child's exercise-induced asthma is well-managed at school? Here are some guidelines.