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HEALTH   -   HEALTHY & HAPPY
Happy, Healthy Kids
July, 2008 - Issue #45
Q: Can my child still exercise if he has asthma?

A:
There are many different triggers of asthma. The most common triggers of asthma are upper-respiratory infections - also known as colds - and exercise. Because vigorous exercise is a common trigger of asthma, it is important to understand symptoms of the problem and some simple treatment plans.

Common symptoms of exercise-induced asthma are coughing, wheezing, and chest tightness following exercise. Sometimes, people will experience symptoms as much as 12 hours after stopping exercise. Usually, symptoms begin 20 to 30 minutes into exercise.

Breathing air that is particularly cold, dry or both can trigger exercise-induced asthma. The dry air conditions experienced during the summer months or around brush fires can be particularly irritating.

Children with exercise-induced asthma can and should participate safely and should be able to achieve their full potential, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Some of the most elite athletes in the world have asthma. In fact, in the 1996 Olympics, there was a higher percentage American athletes with asthma than Americans in the general population.

Some specific strategies to reduce the exacerbation of asthma from exercise: Ask your pediatrician about your child using an inhaler 15 minutes before starting exercise. Try to have the athlete breathe through the nose more than the mouth, at least at first. Avoid exercise in the cold, early morning hours. Consider sports where there's more exposure to humid air, such as swimming. Remember to get a flu shot when they become available in the fall.

Drs. Paul and Daphne Horowitz have opened Discovery Pediatrics, Inc, a unique pediatrics practice in Valencia 259-8999.
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