Can My Child Still Be an Athlete With Asthma?

If your child is one of the more than six million in the United States who has asthma, there are two things you want for them: to be healthy and to have a normal childhood. For many kids, sports are a huge part of their life, so the question is natural: Can my child still be an athlete with asthma?

David Beckham, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Emmett Smith, Kristi Yamaguchi, and many others would definitely say yes since all of these famous athletes competed with asthma.

Though your kids with asthma may not reach the professional level of sports, Dr. Margaret Lubega and the team at First Pediatric Care Center in Gastonia want to give your kids every chance of playing sports.

What is asthma?

Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that causes your airways to become narrow and inflamed. It can also cause your body to produce extra mucus, which can make it difficult to breathe. The seriousness of the condition varies from person to person. Some only have mild and infrequent asthma episodes, while others may have extreme, life-threatening attacks during which time they cannot breathe.

Asthma attacks are usually brought on by allergies or physical exertion, but there are other triggers as well, such as smoke. Symptoms of asthma include coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, and tightness in your chest. Many attacks can be managed with medication, such as a prescription inhaler, while emergency treatment at a hospital is sometimes needed.

How do sports fit in with asthma?

Although sports that require a lot of energy without much rest time (such as cross-country running or soccer) or take place in cold, dry air (hockey, skiing, ice skating) may not be a good fit, there are plenty of other sports that work well for kids who have asthma. 

Sports such as swimming (the warm, humid air is good for the lungs), baseball or softball, fencing, volleyball, and martial arts are all great options. Even the cold-weather or endurance sports are possible with the right training schedule and medication protocols. Every individual is different, so if there’s a sport your child really wants to try, have a conversation with their doctor to see what’s possible.

Managing sports and asthma

To keep your child’s asthma under control while they are playing sports, make sure they take their medicine as prescribed. It doesn’t take long for an asthma attack to occur, so be sure you don’t get behind on their treatment. Your child should also have quick-relief or rescue medicine on hand at all times, even at practices that may not seem difficult.

You should also make sure the coach and organizers know about your child’s asthma condition and how to help them if they have an asthma attack at a game or practice. Both your child and their coach should be ready to swing into action at the first sign of an attack.

Kids with asthma can enjoy sports just like anyone else with the proper plan. If you need more information about asthma or need treatment for your child, call Pediatric First Care Center, or book an appointment online today!

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