Asthma is a long-lasting (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.
Asthma symptoms are caused by two different problems in the airways.
If your child has asthma, symptoms often start after your child is exposed to a trigger. Asthma triggers can include:
In exercise-induced asthma, this can occur:
For many children, running or riding a bike in the cold air may trigger symptoms. Crying and temper tantrums may also trigger an asthma attack in very young children.
The symptoms of exercise-induced asthma include:
You may also see that your child does not want to play or do physical activities. Babies may have trouble sucking or feeding.
Your healthcare provider will ask about breathing problems during or after exercise. He or she may ask you to run on a treadmill to see if you are wheezing after the exercise.
You may do special breathing tests before and after exercise. These tests measure how fast you can exhale air in one breath.
Exercise-induced asthma can be successfully treated with medicine. Two kinds of asthma medicines may be used.
If your child has exercise-induced asthma, let coaches and teachers, who supervise your child know what to do to help your child.
Your child does not need to avoid all exercise and other physical activities. Doing warm-up exercises before a vigorous workout may help prevent an asthma attack.
Some children have more symptoms during strenuous activity in cold, dry air. During the winter, your child may need to exercise indoors or wear a mask when exercising outside. Wearing a mask or scarf warms the air before your child inhales it. You may also need to be aware of conditions such as air pollution or allergens such as dust or pollen.
Your child can usually avoid symptoms by using a quick-relief medicine 15 to 30 minutes before exercise.
Your child may need a few days to recover from a viral illness. In this case, he may need to avoid gym class or sports for a short time.
If your child regularly has a lot of symptoms even after using a quick-relief medicine, talk with his healthcare provider.