Asthma and exercise advice

Hi, my son has just been told he has the start of asthma, so I have been researching as you can imagine. Most of the information I have found seems to state that exercise can induce an attack, but my son says it eases his chest when he is active - is this normal? He is a very active 9 year old. Only told yesterday, he has been given a salbutamol inhaler but I am not convinced it is helping, do this take a while as I understood they worked straight away.

Thanks in advance for any advice/information.

I am new to dealing with asthma so any advice greatly appreciated.

Many thanks


3 Replies

  • OK, well I can't really offer specific advice RE your son as that would be irresponsible of me.

    I think your first point of call would be a chat with your asthma nurse (or GP) as they will have knowledge of your son and his diagnosis. Yes salbutamol should help straight away, but repeat doses may be needed depending on the severity of the attack, but this will also depend on whether your son can administer it correctly (and a spacer device could help with this). But again your asthma nurse should be able to help you with this (she should check that your son can do this). If your son is using his inhaler correctly but is using it a lot it may be that he needs a preventer inhaler as well, but again this is something to be discussed with the nurse/GP.

    In general a diagnosis of asthma should not mean you need to change your daily life, there are medications available that should be able to keep most asthmatics symptom free for most of the time. Exercise is good for anyone, including asthmatics, and not everyone has exercise induced asthma. I have had asthma since I was a child and exercise was a trigger for me. However, I still did competitive running (including cross country running in the winter) as a teenager and was the school athletics captain. It just meant that I took my inhaler about 20-30 minutes before any exercise, during if needed and afterwards too. It is important for your son to keep as active as possible and your asthma nurse/GP should be working with you and your son to make sure that he has the right treatment regime in place in order for him to do this.

  • I was very sporty as a child and suffered quite a bit with my asthma. Although there were many occaisions asthma interupted or put an end to exercise sessions I did feel that it made me physically stronger (breathing wise) so I was able to deal with the asthma symptoms more easily wether they occured exercising or not.

    The ventolin should help pretty much straight away, if it doesn't then he may need another puff. Or it may be that it is helping but you don't notice the difference but your son will. I don't know if they said when they prescribed the ventolin that your son should take ventolin around 15 minutes before exercise to prevent exercise enduced symptoms. I hope he can carry on being an active little boy. x

  • Leet, I have exercise induced asthma, but this needn't stop people with asthma from being sporty, infact the opposite is true. Certain sports are worse than others, running I find to start with the biggest one, but after 10-15 mins I'm fine. My own personal experience, and PF tests while running showed that Ventolin before exercise didn't help for me so I rarely use it, and rely on my preventer meds for control. Exercise is good for asthmatics, it helps strenghten the lungs and increase oxygen uptake, even when not exercising, so your son shouldn't stop enjoying sports. If he finds exercise does cause a few problems, then additional inhalers and tablets are further options.

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