Sometimes exercise triggers asthma symptoms. This is called exercise-induced asthma (EIA).
The symptoms of EIA are coughing, wheezing, a feeling of tightness in your chest, or shortness of breath. Most times, these symptoms start soon after you stop exercising. But, some people may have symptoms after they start exercising.
Having asthma symptoms when you exercise does not mean you cannot or should not exercise. The tips below may keep you from getting EIA.
Cold or dry air may trigger your asthma symptoms. If you do exercise in cold or dry air:
Do not exercise when the air is dirty or polluted. Do not exercise near fields or lawns that have just been mowed. Warm up before you exercise, and cool down after you exercise.
Some kinds of exercise may trigger your asthma less than others.
Activities that keep you moving fast all the time are more likely to trigger asthma symptoms. Some of these are running, basketball, and soccer.
Take your short-acting inhaled beta-agonists before you exercise. These are called quick-relief drugs.
Long-acting inhaled beta-agonists may also help.
Inhaled cromolyn can also be used before exercise. But, most times, it is not as effective as other medicines.
National Asthma Education and Prevention Program Expert Panel Report 3: Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma. Rockville, MD. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, US Dept of Health and Human Services; 2007. NIH publications 08-4051.
Szefler SJ. Advances in pediatric asthma in 2009: gaining control of childhood asthma. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010 Jan;125(1):69-78.
Updated by: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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