Exercise is one of the most common triggers for kids and teens with asthma. But some people (including those who don't have asthma) have asthma symptoms only during or after exercise. This is known as exercise-induced asthma (EIA) (also called exercise-induced bronchoconstriction, or EIB).
When this happens, a person might:
wheeze or cough
feel tightness or pain in the chest
have shortness of breath
Symptoms may happen within 5–10 minutes of exercising, and peak 5–10 minutes after exercising stops. Symptoms usually go away within 1 hour.
Students with EIA may:
get winded or tired easily during or after exercise
cough after coming inside from being active outdoors
not be able to run for more than a few minutes without stopping
need to use asthma medicine with an inhaler when symptoms happen
What Teachers and Coaches Can Do
Having EIA doesn't mean students should skip sports, gym classes, or other physical activities. As well as keeping them fit, exercise can strengthen the breathing muscles in the chest and help their lungs work better. But students with EIA may need to use inhalers before they exercise.
Teachers and coaches can help students with EIA by:
reminding them to carry and use their inhaler before activity
making time for proper warm-ups and cool-downs during practices, games, and other physical activities
encouraging them to breathe through the nose during exercise
having them take breaks during exercise and use an inhaler as prescribed if symptoms start
avoiding exercise in cold temperatures (or having students wear a ski mask or scarf over their mouth and nose if this can't be avoided)
You should know your students' asthma triggers and let them use their medicines when needed. If a student's symptoms don't improve or get worse after taking medicine, call the school nurse or 911.