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Exercise-Induced Asthma (cont.)

What Are Symptoms and Signs of Exercise-Induced Asthma?

Patient Comments

Symptoms usually begin about five to 20 minutes after beginning to exercise. The symptoms often peak about five to 10 minutes after stopping exercise then gradually diminish. The symptoms are typically gone within an hour, but they may last longer. Symptoms include one or a combination of the following:

Symptoms of asthma may be more subtle in children.

  • Children may complain of not being able to keep up with peers in games and sports.
  • They may say they don't like games or avoid participating.
  • This can lead to problems with socialization or self-esteem in some children.

When Should Someone Seek Medical Care for Exercise-Induced Asthma?

If you think you or your child may have exercise-induced asthma, promptly make an appointment with your health-care professional.

If you or your child has exercise-induced asthma, you should have an action plan worked out in advance with your health-care professional. This plan should include instructions on how to prevent an attack while exercising, what to do when an asthma attack occurs, when to call the health-care professional, and when to go to a hospital emergency department.

The following is an example of an action plan in case of an exercise-induced attack:

  • Take two puffs of an inhaled beta2-agonist (a rescue medication) with one minute between puffs. If there is no relief, take an additional puff every five minutes. If there is no response after eight puffs, which is 40 minutes, your health-care professional should be called.
  • Your health-care professional should also be called if you have an asthma attack when you are already taking oral or inhaled steroids or if your inhaler treatments are not lasting four hours.
  • Keep in mind that these are general guidelines only. If your health-care professional recommends another plan for you, follow that plan.

Although asthma is a reversible disease, and treatments are available, people can die from a severe asthma attack.

  • If you are having an asthma attack and have severe shortness of breath or are unable to reach your health-care professional in a short period of time, you must go to the nearest hospital emergency department.
  • Do not drive yourself to the hospital. Have a friend or family member drive. If you are alone, immediately call 911 for emergency medical transport.
Last Reviewed 9/11/2017

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