How do I control the symptoms of exercise-induced asthma?

You should not avoid exercise because of exercise-induced asthma. There are steps you can take to control the symptoms and allow you or your child to maintain normal physical activity.

Inhaled medications taken before exercise can control and prevent exercise-induced asthma symptoms. The preferred medications are the short-acting beta2 agonist inhalers, such as:

  • ProAir®
  • Proventil HFA®
  • Ventolin HFA®
  • Xoponex HFA®

Taken 15-20 minutes before exercise, these medications can prevent the airways from contracting and can provide control of exercise-induced asthma for as long as 4 to 6 hours.

If you continue to have symptoms, your doctor may need to start or change to a longer-acting inhaler for you. It is important to talk with your doctor about how treatment of your exercise-induced symptoms is working.

In addition to medications, a warm-up phase before exertion and a cool-down period afterward can help prevent exercise-induced asthma. Exercise outside should be limited during high pollen days (if allergic) or when temperatures are extremely low and air pollution levels are high. The presence of viral upper respiratory infections can also increase symptoms, so you should restrict exercise if you have such an infection.

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