There used to be a time when people with asthma were told to avoid physical exertion and to take it easy. Today we know better - children with asthma should move around as much as possible. Children do not sit still - they often run around playing and may sometimes be straining themselves a bit too much. That is when the body will tell them to stop. Everyone becomes short of breath from physical exercise but for a child with asthma this can become extra problematic since the airways are so sensitive.
As a parent to a child with asthma caution is good, but should be applied to a sensible degree. That is good but be so to a sensible degree. Children like to move, and they should not refrain from fun things just because they have asthma they should, without problems, be able too do all the things their friends are doing. With the right treatment your child should be able to live as if the asthma was not there.
Children with exercise-induced asthma often notice the asthma when they are stressed, running, riding a bicycle or exercising, despite this they should not stop moving. The asthmatic problems get easier to manage if the child is fit. That is, if the physical condition of the child is better, the child will notice the asthmatic symptoms sooner and can then start treating them.
Exercise where you switch between exertion and rest is usually good. Running in intervals, swimming and bicycling are some examples of sports where the child can rest now and then. The only thing a child probably should avoid completely is diving.
If the child gets exercise-induced asthma that means that the inflammation of the respiratory tract is not fully controlled by preventive medication. In other words, this is a signal of it being a time to contact your doctor in order to review the treatment.
If the child is suffering from breathing problems during a workout, he or she should take fast-acting bronchodilating medicine and then sit down to rest. It will be beneficial for the child to lean forward resting the elbows on the knees in order to facilitate the breathing. If the problems pass, the child may continue the exercise. If the problems have not passed within 15 minutes, interrupt the training.
An optimal working asthma treatment is of course a must if you are going to train on an elite level. Today there are many athletes who have reached top results in spite of their asthma.
Children with asthma who train at an elite sporting level need a doctor's certificate for their asthma medications.
If the child likes winter sports, heat exchangers or an allergy facemask may be helpful. These make the inhaled air damp and warm and the airways will thereby be spared from cold and dry air that otherwise provokes asthmatic problems.
UK/GEN/15/0056e Date of preparation: December 2015