Can My Child Still Be an Athlete With Asthma?

Jan 17, 2023

Can My Child Still Be an Athlete With Asthma?

Children with asthma can cough, wheeze, and have trouble breathing as soon as they do anything physical. Still, sports and physical activity are important for their mental health and well-being. 

Children with asthma can manage their symptoms and benefit from sports’ positive effects on health by taking the right precautions. The highly skilled professionals at Angel Kids Pediatrics in Jacksonville, Florida, diagnose and manage asthma in children. 

Asthma symptoms range from mild to severe. Kids and teens with asthma can be active and athletic as long as they understand how to manage their asthma symptoms appropriately. 

Can my child play sports with asthma?

Although asthma is a chronic respiratory disease, it doesn’t prohibit exercise. Experts advise people with asthma to exercise regularly. Playing sports and working out can help your child strengthen their breathing muscles and make their lungs work better. Working out in warm, humid environments or playing sports that tone the upper muscles can improve asthma symptoms.

Many athletes with asthma participate in sports safely with the right preparation and medication. For children with asthma, some sports and activities may be better options. 

What sports are best for children with asthma?

Some sports activities are beneficial for kids with asthma and may be less likely to cause an asthma attack, like yoga, biking, or golfing. By enhancing breathing muscles, aerobic exercise frequently improves airway function. 

These activities are less likely to cause an asthma attack:

  • Hiking
  • Walking
  • Biking leisurely
  • Swimming
  • Golfing
  • Gymnastics
  • Baseball
  • Short-distance track and field
  • Surfing
  • Wrestling

Certain sports might be difficult for children with asthma in some cases. These include activities that need a lot of energy but little rest, such as long-distance running. Sports like soccer and basketball might not be suitable for your child. Cold-weather sports like cross-country skiing and ice hockey are also more challenging for children with asthma.

How to manage symptoms

The experts at Angel Kids Pediatrics offer excellent advice to help control your child’s asthma symptoms. Make sure your child:

  • Stays hydrated
  • Warms up with light exercise before playing sports
  • Uses a quick-relief inhaler before beginning exercise
  • Avoids outdoor workouts if mold or pollen counts are high
  • Breathes through the nose and not the mouth while exercising
  • Cools down after intense activities before resting
  • Stretches to finish

Always ensure your child has their quick-relief inhaler with them, and don’t stop using doctor-prescribed medication even when symptoms aren’t obvious.

Sports and exercise could make your child's asthma flare-up worse. If this happens, have them stop the activity until the symptoms disappear. The same advice applies to asthmatic children recuperating from an upper respiratory illness.

Involve teachers, coaches, and other adults

It’s vital that everybody watching over your child is aware of their asthma, including teachers, coaches, school nurses, and others. They should know your child must always have access to their quick-relief inhaler. 

Talk to your child about their asthma action plan and any additional instructions. Make sure they understand what to do in the event of an asthma attack and when to dial 911 or your child's doctor. Ask our asthma experts for an asthma action plan if you don't already have one.

The bottom line: Your child can still be an athlete with asthma

Sports can raise the trigger threshold for exercise-related asthma, and physical activity can also help children with asthma judge themselves and understand care requirements more accurately. 

Even though some physical activities can cause an asthma attack, don't be scared to let your child participate in sports. They can handle most sports with the proper supervision. 

Still have questions? Contact Angel Kids Pediatrics to get in touch with an asthma expert who can assist you and your children. Call or request an appointment online today.