Exercise Induced Asthma

If your child often has an asthma attack or breathing problems when they exercise or play sports, they could have a condition known as exercise-induced asthma. At Newport Children’s Medical Group, in Newport Beach, Irvine, Costa Mesa, and Laguna Beach, California, the team of expert pediatricians provide the most up-to-date treatments to help your child enjoy an active lifestyle. If you think your child might have exercise-induced asthma, call Newport Children’s Medical Group today.

Exercise Induced Asthma Q & A

What is exercise-induced asthma?

Exercise-induced asthma is a form of asthma where the trigger for an attack is exercising.

Asthma is a chronic condition with two aspects – chronic underlying inflammation with recurring asthma attacks. During an attack, your child finds it difficult to draw breath and starts wheezing.

Attacks happen after exposure to a trigger, which is typically something like an allergen or stress. The trigger causes your child’s body to produce large quantities of mucus, and their airways start to swell. As a result, their airways narrow, so it’s hard for them to breathe out.

With exercise-induced asthma, the trigger for this reaction is your child breathing through their mouth during exercise. The contrast between the warm, moist air in their lungs and the cool, dry air coming in their mouth is enough to trigger a reaction when your child has exercise-induced asthma.

What are the symptoms of exercise-induced asthma?

The symptoms of exercise-induced asthma tend to start between five and 20 minutes after your child starts exercising. Symptoms are at their worst for up to 10 minutes after stopping exercise, and could include:

  • Extreme tiredness
  • Persistent shortness of breath
  • Chest pain and tightness
  • Coughing and wheezing

Sports and pastimes that require constant activity or take place in the winter when the air is coldest tend to be the most likely to trigger an exercise-induced asthma attack, for example:

  • Soccer
  • Hockey (ice and field)
  • Cross country skiing
  • Basketball
  • Long-distance running

Your child is likely to complain of not being able to keep pace with their friends when playing games.

How is exercise-induced asthma treated?

Medications like inhaled beta2-agonists or bronchodilators are the most effective way to treat exercise-induced asthma. Your provider at Newport Children’s Medical Group can assess the severity of your child’s symptoms and prescribe the most appropriate form of medication.

They work with you and your child to find the best methods of reducing symptoms and improving your child’s exercise tolerance. They also help develop an action plan, so you know how to manage in the event of an exercise-induced asthma attack.

If your child does have an asthma attack and you need urgent care, Newport Children’s Medical Group provides same-day appointments for urgent cases.

Some sports are less likely to trigger exercise-induced asthma, such as:

  • Recreational biking
  • Walking
  • Baseball
  • Golf
  • Football
  • Wrestling
  • Volleyball

These sports involve short periods of activity with lots of idle time in-between, so they are less likely to trigger an attack. If your child gets the right treatment, they can benefit from taking part in sports and exercise safely.

Call Newport Children’s Medical Group to find out more on exercise-induced asthma treatment.