Diseases & Conditions

Asthma in Children

Parents often have the urge to limit the physical activities of a child with asthma. But Cleveland Clinic allergists advise parents to resist the urge. Regular exercise can improve your child’s airway function.

With appropriate asthma medication, children can participate in many sports and activities. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, activities less likely to trigger asthma include swimming, leisure biking, walking, hiking and free downhill skiing.

Team sports requiring short bursts of energy such as baseball, football, wrestling, golf, gymnastics and short-distance track and field events also are good for asthmatic kids.

Sports that call for continuous exercise and/or cold-air exposure are more likely to trigger asthma, including soccer, basketball, field hockey, long-distance running, cross-country skiing and ice hockey.

Allergists urge parents to supply a child’s physical education teacher and coaches with:

  • a list of the medications your child needs and how they’re used the warning signs of an asthma attack
  • asthma prevention techniques like proper warm-ups and cool-downs
  • a copy of your child’s asthma management plan

Tips to control asthma symptoms when exercising:

  • Always use your pre-exercise inhaled medications before beginning exercise
  • Perform warm-up exercises and maintain an appropriate cool-down period after exercise
  • If the weather is cold, exercise indoors or wear a mask or scarf over your nose and mouth
  • Avoid exercising outdoors when pollen counts are high (if you have allergies) and when there is high air pollution
  • Restrict exercise when you have a viral infection
  • Exercise at a level that is appropriate for you

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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.