Asthma Shouldn’t Keep Children On The Sidelines
Children with asthma no longer need to sit on the sidelines, and parents no longer need to worry constantly about their child’s wellbeing. Michele Libman, M.D., Director of Treasure Coast Urgent & Family Care, recommends exercise as part of the child’s asthma treatment plan.
“The good news is that asthma doesn’t have to limit a child’s lifestyle or ability to play sports or exercise,” Dr. Libman says. “Being active and playing sports not only help kids with asthma stay fit, maintain a healthy weight and have fun, but also can strengthen their breathing muscles and help the lungs work better. When asthma is in control, the child will be able to exercise without fear.”
“Education is the key to keeping kids with asthma healthy and safe at home and in school,” she said. “There was a time when kids with asthma were discouraged from playing sports and told to take it easy. With appropriate therapy and supervision, kids are able to participate in most athletic activities without restriction.”
Three important things that kids who have asthma should know about sports participation:
- Their asthma must be under control in order for them to play sports properly
- Teachers and coaches should be well educated on the symptoms and treatment of asthma, and rescue medications should be immediately available
- Make sure they always carry a rescues inhaler during exercise, just in case
Swimming, leisurely biking, and walking are less likely to trigger asthma flare-ups, as are sports that require short bursts of activity like baseball, gymnastics, and shorter track and field events. Endurance sports such as long-distance running and cycling, and sports like soccer and basketball, which require extended energy output, may be more challenging.
After a while, kids should become good at listening to their body so they know how to avoid or handle asthma problems at a game or practice. “This shows that kids can participate in sports if they truly enjoy them,” Libman said. “In fact, many athletes with asthma have found that with proper training and medication, they can participate in any sport and should be supervised closely by their pediatrician or pulmonologist.”