COULD MY CHILD HAVE ASTHMA?
Asthma occurs when there is an obstruction of the bronchial tubes caused by mucus in the airways, muscle spasm, and swelling that cause three key symptoms: a cough, shortness of breath, and wheezing, says Dr. Stanley P. Galant, CHOC asthma, allergy and immunology specialist. Kids with asthma may experience these symptoms particularly during or after exercise. However, children with asthma who are well managed usually have very little difficulty with exercise.
Asthma can also be triggered by an allergen, an environmental irritant such as tobacco smoke, and by the common cold. “A child should be checked for asthma if he or she regularly experiences these symptoms, particularly with a family history of asthma,” says Dr. Galant.
PLAYING SPORTS WITH ASTHMA
Just because your child has asthma does not mean he or she can’t participate in sports or physical activities, says Dr. Galant. In fact, exercise and physical fitness may be very important for lung development, might prevent asthma from occurring, and could improve asthma status in those who have it. During exercise you have to take a deep breath and this can open your airways,” says Dr. Galant.
MINIMIZING ASTHMA TROUBLE WHILE EXERCISING
Children participating in sports can take some steps to minimize or avoid asthma trouble. Dr. Galant says kids should warm up first with short exercises such as short sprints. Young athletes with asthma also could use an inhaler, a “rescue medication” such as albuterol, about 15 minutes before exercising or playing sports to help prevent symptoms caused by physical activity, he says, adding that this will help for about 2-4 hours. Young athletes should also have their “rescue medication” on hand too in case they need it. Dr. Galant noted that swimming is a great sport for these children because of the moist environment. Running in dry, cold air is not as ideal. To show that children with asthma can compete on the athletic field we sponsor an Olympic type event each spring called the Air Power Games. If interested please call CHOC Breathmobile at 714-509-7571.