Allowing Your Child to Play Sports with Asthma

girl_soccerballYour 7-year-old son loves baseball and can’t wait to join the local Little League team. Your daughter is a big soccer fan and all her fourth-grade friends play soccer after school, so she wants to play soccer also. Both kids have asthma. What to do?

Just because your children have asthma does not mean they can’t participate in any sports or physical activities, says Dr. Stanley Galant, an asthma specialist and medical director of CHOC Children’s Breathmobile.

“I encourage every child to exercise. If you control the asthma you have less of a chance of a problem,” he says. “It’s very important for asthmatic kids to stay competitive. It’s important for the families and their providers to create a situation that allows them to participate.”

“First of all, exercise is very important for lung development. It’s important to take a deep breath, and exercise makes you take a deep breath. On the other hand, asthma is a known trigger for having a shortness of breath, or coughing or wheezing. The symptoms frequently occur after you stop exercising.”

Young athletes participating in sports can take some steps to minimize or avoid asthma trouble, according to Dr. Galant. He said children should warm up first with some “energy bursts” like sprints and other short exercises. They could also use their albuterol inhaler about 15 minutes before exercising to help prevent an attack caused by exercise if necessary.

If it’s a cold day, athletes with asthma should wear a mask to prevent the cold, dry air from getting into their lungs, Dr. Galant advised. “Swimming is the best exercise for asthmatic kids. Running is the hardest, particular in dry cold air,” he notes.

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4 thoughts on “Allowing Your Child to Play Sports with Asthma”

  1. hello,My son has asthma and is now not very sick. He is 12 years old and has regular exercise ,but he has not been tested for lung function for a long time. May I ask you where you can do a lung function test? How to charge?thank you!

    1. We perform lung function tests on our Breathmobile, through our Pulmonology department, and through Allergy & Immunology as well. If you don’t already see a specialist in one of these areas, please contact your pediatrician for a referral.

  2. hello my daughter has been diagnosed with sports asthma. she only gets really tired out of breath when he plays out on the son and it’s hot. she has practice twice a week round 6pm and its not hot she she plays better is not as bad as when it comes to her cames. i would like to know what would be best for her to control the asthma, can she use a mask for her breathing?.

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