School Sports and Asthma

Last updated: December 2018

School has started for my high school daughter and tonight was her first cross country meet. Why anyone would voluntarily run is beyond me.......

That reminds me of a meme on Pinterest that says, "I don't run. If you ever see me running, it's because something is chasing me."  But - she likes to run, so I'll go cheer her on.

Running has always been a challenge for her, thanks to asthma. One of her triggers is exercise. Other triggers are poor air quality and pollen. All three of those combined today to make her lungs a little cranky.

Since she has had asthma since she was very young, she is used to it now. (Not that she likes it....) She knows what her triggers are, and what to do if her asthma flares up. So, I really wasn't surprised to come home from work and find the nebulizer sitting by the couch. I knew her lungs were a little tight before she left for school, so I was worried about how she would do during her cross country meet. I was happy to see that she had given herself a breathing treatment before she competed.

During the race, she was running with her best friend, who also happens to have asthma. They were keeping pace for about half of the race, but I noticed Daughter was ahead of Best Friend at the finish line. I wondered what had happened, and it wasn't until the finish line when I heard Best Friend having a tough time breathing. So she had told Daughter to run ahead and finish the race.

Once Best Friend got to the finish line, her dad could tell she was having problems breathing, and ran to get her sling bag and inhaler. After using her inhaler, Best Friend looked pretty relieved (as did my daughter!). It's amazing how well Albuterol can work to help you breathe better - which also relieves the panicked feeling you can get when you can't breathe. It's that cycle of not being able to breathe, which can make you panic, which can make it harder to breathe, which makes you panic....and around you go in a cycle.

It's important to know your body and know what your doctor wants you to do to treat your asthma. Daughter knew that she needed to pre-treat her asthma. Each year, Asthma Doc fills out a new Asthma Action Plan for Daughter, so she will know what to do to treat her asthma. It also doubles as a permission form so she can legally carry her inhaler with her at all times during school hours.

Her Asthma Action Plan says that she should use her inhaler BEFORE she exercises (or in this case, competes in cross country.) My oldest son also has Exercise Induced Asthma, so he is supposed to use his inhaler before he exercises....but does he? No. He just coughs for several hours after he exercises. So, like other moms, I have to say, "Hey! Use your inhaler!" Sigh....

Should everyone use their inhaler before they exercise? No. Since some people can have a rapid heart rate or palpitations when they use Albuterol, you need to ask your doctor what is safe for you.

And - that's another reason why you should have an Asthma Action Plan, so you know what to do.

Anyone else have a hard time exercising with asthma? What works best for you? Do you use your inhaler before exercise or just wait and see how you feel?


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