Exercise-Induced Asthma refers to the type of asthma triggered by strenuous or prolonged physical exercise.
People suffering from chronic asthma experience various symptoms of asthma while they are exercising. Exercise can induce asthma by inhaling colder and drier air. This happens because people tend to breathe through their mouths during exercise. The airways, which are sensitive to humidity and temperature changes, react by narrowing and this in turn, results in exercise-induced asthma.
Symptoms of this condition include coughing, tightening of the chest, wheezing, unusual fatigue, and shortness of breath during the exercise. These symptoms usually start 5 to 20 minutes into the exercise or 5 to 10 minutes after you're done. Despite the danger of this condition, asthma shouldn't stop you from exercising. That's because physical activity is necessary for optimal health. Not only that, there is also a wide range of preventive measures that you can do to ensure that this doesn't happen to you.
Here are the things that you can do to prevent exercise-induced asthma.
• Use Asthma Inhalers Prior to Exercise
Before engaging in any form of exercise, it would be a good idea to use asthma inhalers or bronchodilators. These can control the symptoms of exercise-induced asthma. Short-acting beta-2 agonists are the preferred choice. Take this 15 to 20 minutes before you start exercising so that it can be effective in preventing the airways from contracting. The effect lasts for two to three hours. If you're going to exercise for a longer time, go for long-acting beta-2 agonists which provides control for up to 12 hours. Take this in the morning to protect yourself from asthma attack throughout the day. However, you must not use this as daily treatment.
• Warm Up, Cool Down
Apart from taking medications, it's also very important that you warm up before exercising and cool down afterwards to prevent having an asthma attack. Warming up and cooling down is essential for any person exercising even if you are not prone to having asthma attacks.
• Do the Right Exercises
Some activities are more advisable for people with exercise-induced asthma. These exercises involve short or intermittent periods of exertion like baseball, walking, wrestling and volleyball. Long periods of exertions such as soccer, basketball, field hockey, and distance running are less well tolerated, and thus should be avoided or played only occasionally. Cold weather sports like skiing, ice hockey, and ice skating are also not recommended for people with this condition. Swimming, an endurance sport performed in warm and moist air environment, is often recommended for people with asthma.
• Avoid Cold Air
As mentioned earlier, cold air can trigger exercise-induced asthma. If you're going to exercise, it would help to wear a scarf around your nose and mouth to avoid cold air from hitting your bronchial tubes. It is always best to exercise indoors in a warm environment.
• Stay away from allergens
Aside from the cold temperature, you must also stay away from pollution and allergens that can also trigger asthma attack. Be watchful of these when exercising outdoors. It would be a great idea to exercise either early in the morning or late in the evening for less exposure to exhaust fumes from cars.