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Does Your Child Have Exercise-Induced Asthma?

Most children with asthma experience symptoms as a result of exercise. But did you know both children with and without the illness can experience asthma symptoms only when they exercise?

This is known as exercise-induced asthma (EIA.) If you think your child is experiencing asthma symptoms during or after exercise, visit your pediatric pulmonologist in New York, Dr. Shukla.

Signs and Symptoms of Exercise-Induced Asthma

If your child gets “winded” or tired easily after exercising or coughs when coming inside after being active outdoors, this may be cause for investigation. Also, if they cannot run for more than a few minutes without stopping, this may be a symptom of EIA. Some other symptoms include:

  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness/pain
  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath that lasts

Duration of Symptoms

Symptoms may begin five to ten minutes after beginning a physical activity; or, they may come on only after your child stops being active. In this case, symptoms will generally peak five to ten minutes after stopping activity and will take an hour or more to end.

When it is not Exercise-Induced Asthma

The way to tell if someone is simply “out of shape and winded” rather than something more serious is that it takes someone with EIA much longer to recover. Also, extreme temperatures – especially extreme cold—can make EIA much worse.

Causes of Exercise-Induced Asthma

Inhalation of cold, dry air during exercise is thought to be the main cause of EIA symptoms.

When kids exercise or play hard, they experience what is known as bronchoconstriction. Normally, people breathe slowly and through their noses, so the air is warmed and humidified before it reaches the lungs. This is the proper way to breath. The cause of bronchoconstriction is when, during exercise, the child breathes quickly, shallowly, and through the mouth. This makes the air going towards the lungs cool and dry, which makes the airways narrower, blocking the flow of air and making it harder to breath.

How to Guard Against Exercise-Induced Asthma

It may be counter-intuitive but staying fit and exercising regularly can help improve asthma symptoms. Kids and teens with asthma should get as much physical activity as they can. Make an appointment with your pediatric pulmonologist in New York, Dr. Shukla, to get an exercise plan tailor-made for your child.

What Activities are OK for Kids with Exercise-Induced Asthma?

Besides keeping your kids fit, exercise improves lung function by strengthening breathing muscles in the chest.

These activities are usually ok for people with EIA:

  • Easy walking, jogging, or hiking
  • Golf
  • Baseball
  • Football
  • Gymnastics
  • Shorter track and field events

Activities to Avoid for Exercise-Induced Asthma

  • Endurance sports like:
    o Running
    o Cycling
  • Sports that require extended energy output like:
    o Soccer
    o Baseball
  • Cold-weather sports like:
    o Cross-country skiing
    o Ice hockey

*However, with proper training and medicine, children with EIA may participate in any sport they choose! Make sure to consult your pediatric pulmonologist in New York before starting any of the above ‘risky’ activities.

How your Pediatric Pulmonologist in New York Treats Exercise-Induced Asthma

Sometimes, your pulmonologist will recommend “pretreatment,” or taking medicine before being very active. The medicine is often the same as the ones used for flare ups (“fast-acting medicine.”)

If pretreatment does not work, the pulmonologist may recommend long-term control medicine (maintenance medicine), which your child will take over time to reduce airway inflammation.

With trial and error, your pediatric pulmonologist in New York can adjust your child’s medicine dosage until it works appropriately for them.

Dr. Mayank Shukla is a pediatric pulmonologist in New York and sleep doctor. He uses a highly effective, combined approach to treat asthma, allergies, and sleep disorders for both children and adults in the entire New York City area. Dr. Shukla finds it particularly rewarding to help children breathe easier, allowing them to participate in their lives to the fullest. Contact the top asthma and sleep specialist of New York Today!

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