Treating Exercise-Induced Asthma


Certainly, the advantages of regular physical activities often outweigh the risks related with exercise-induced asthma, if you follow your doctor’s advices. Every child with EIA must have a definite asthma action plan to get the necessary guidelines when an asthma flare strikes. Ideally, it will help you avoid asthma flares, live a pleasurable life, and have the activities you enjoy, while having near-normal lung functions.

Treating exercise-induced asthma revolves around preventing asthma flares. There is no way to treat exercise-induced asthma, however certain medications may help you manage the disorder symptoms, because exercise-induced asthma is triggered by the same airway reactions found in regular asthma. If patients take prescribed drugs as directed, you could perform an exercise without worsening your symptoms. Even Olympic athletes with EIA can compete well at the international matches with appropriate medication. In fact, many people can manage asthma completely while taking part in sport activities if they work together with their health advisors and follow their treatment regimens carefully. Certainly, just because those with asthma can be highly successful, it doesn’t mean you should ignore your conditions. If your asthma symptoms aren’t well controlled, they can hinder your overall performance.

Many asthma patients with active lifestyle take inhaled maintenance drugs to help keep their asthma severity low. But often, maintenance treatments alone aren’t sufficient to offer complete control of EIA, especially if patients are very active or if you are exposed to allergens or air pollution as you work out.

In this case, you need to take an emergency inhaled bronchodilator and use it for every 15 to 30 minutes before an exercise to prevent narrowing airways. This is known as pretreatment, and it may help you participate comfortably in exercise or sports. Many athletes believe that taking this medication right before an intense physical activity and using deep breathing methods can control asthma symptoms during an exercise. Most doctors prescribe these medications for EIA pre-treatment:

Inhaled corticosteroids: Those with EIA may find that inhaled corticosteroids won’t help when taken before an exercise. However, researches suggest that certain inhaled corticosteroids such as fluticasone (Flovent) or budesonide (Pulmicort) may help them in the long run. Starting on periodical schedules of inhaled corticosteroids could be effective when used in conjunction with beta 2-agonists.

Beta 2-agonist (inhaled and short-acting): Using pirbuterol (Maxair) or albuterol (Ventolin, Proventil), half-hour before an exercise may prevent contracted airways for about five hours. These drugs can be effective in up to 90 percent of asthma cases and may relieve any EIA symptom.

Long-acting bronchodilators: Occasionally, your doctor could prescribe a drug to control asthma symptoms for about 12 hours, such as formoterol (Foradil), salmeterol (Serevent Diskus) or other controller drugs (inhaled steroids). In school, a child can participate actively in gym class and other physical activities without using numerous short-acting sprays. However, it is still important to have a short-acting bronchodilator around in case symptoms abruptly appear.

Mast-cell stabilizers: Drugs like nedocromil sodium (Tilade) or cromolyn sodium (Intal) are occasionally used as pre-treatment. They shouldn’t be used to treat chronic symptoms, but when taken about ten minutes before physical exercise, they may prevent an occurrence of asthma symptoms up to 90 percent on patients with exercise-induced asthma.

Leukotriene modifiers: Some long-term control medication, such as zafirlukast (Accolate) or montelukast sodium (Singulair) can prevent exercise-induced asthma in many patients by reducing effects of allergy triggers.

Warming-up and cooling-down period: A warm-up period before an exercise may ease the tight chest that happens during or after exercise. You should try to spend about thirty minutes for a warm-up period. By having a good preparation, you can avoid asthma symptoms that often occur after just fifteen minutes of exercise.

When you are finished exercising, try to cool down slowly instead of stopping abruptly. You may need a 30-minute cool-down period, by performing stretching to prevent the sudden change temperature of air in the lungs and avoid the occurrence of EIA symptoms after an exercise.

There are a few things you should do to help avoid EIA flares:

Drink water. Don’t forget to drink enough of water when exercising, especially if the temperature is high. Aim for drinking at least 8 ounces of water before an exercise, and add another 8 ounces every half an hour during an exercise.

Stay healthy. Try to do your best to avoid flu and other respiratory problems (wash your hands frequently during flu and cold season, eat organic foods, and get plenty of rest), also avoid strenuous exercises when you are not feeling well.

Humidity is good. When you are exercising, choose a clean, humid environment; dry, cold air could worsen your symptoms.

Deal with your allergies. If allergies aggravate your asthma, avoid allergens and use allergy medication while exercising.

Breathe properly. To keep cold, dry air from going into your lungs, read instructions on how to breathe properly through your pursed lips or through nose even during a heavy exercise.

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Christopher Jacoby

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Christopher Jacoby