Even if you don't have asthma, just saying the word "exercise" might make you feel like you need more air. Imagine if you were one of the millions with asthma who actually need more air every day, even if they aren't exercising. Would you make exercising a priority if you felt like that?
Unfortunately, this is a common cycle for many children with asthma. They start thinking that being sedentary is the only lifestyle to keep their asthma under control and live a normal life. They sit and watch their friends play games, and they might make up reasons to avoid physical activities. This pattern might go on and on until it becomes the norm throughout their entire life.
Parents want to keep their kids safe, and parents who have children with asthma are constantly looking for ways to keep their kids safe while letting them have fun without risking an asthma attack. How do you walk that line between safety and fun, though? If you have a child with asthma, the risk of an attack is always present. There are ways to control their asthma, but there are high costs to medication and side effects, and your child likely doesn't enjoy stopping their fun to use their medicine. You might find yourself in a cycle of straying away from enforcing your child's medicine usage, but committing to medication and treatment helps make asthma controllable.
Let's get real about dealing with asthma.
For virtually all patients, asthma is controllable.
That said, is exercise possible for asthmatics?
An asthmatic should have the ability to exercise fully, just like everyone else! Exercise itself doesn't help, hurt, or change the underlying degree of asthma. Unfortunately, we won't cure asthma with exercise, and the reality is that exercise (just like viruses, cold air, allergens, irritant fumes, etc.) is just another trigger than can make asthma more symptomatic.
However, that should not deter asthmatics from exercising. Exercise is a must for everyone. It has numerous benefits. Parents of kids with asthma should encourage them to exercise, because it can make them happier, healthier, and more engaged in the world. Their childhood shouldn't lack exercise and fun activities because of their asthma.
So, the question remains, how do we control asthma and help your child exercise and be part of the gang?
Finding a program to control asthma and sticking to it is critical. The program might include daily medication, specific allergen avoidance, and maybe even allergy shots. A bronchodilator such as albuterol will often be used before exercise to help keep the bronchial muscles from spasming. Albuterol should also be available in case of symptoms during exercise.
Gradually, if your child stays committed to their asthma control program, their asthma can get better, allowing them to get in better condition which will help decrease their asthma symptoms, and they'll be able to have more fun!
Working with your allergist is a great way to achieve this success! Together we can get moving again!