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Exercise-Induced Asthma (cont.)

What Is the Medical Treatment for Exercise-Induced Asthma?

Most people with exercise-induced asthma, if exercise is their only trigger, do not have to take medication every day (unless they exercise every day). Medication is taken before exercising, each time you exercise, to prevent an attack.

  • The medications most widely used by people with exercise-induced asthma are the short-acting beta2-agonist bronchodilator inhalers.
  • Inhaled corticosteroids, even used intermittently, can effectively control the symptoms of EIA.
  • Other preventive medications are inhaled cromolyn sodium, such as Intal, and oral leukotriene inhibitors, such as montelukast (Singulair).

Precautions that may help reduce your chance of having an asthma attack include the following:

  • Spending time warming up before starting strenuous exertion can help prevent asthma symptoms. Similarly, a gradual cooling down after exertion can prevent symptoms after exertion.
  • Avoid exertion when you have a respiratory tract infection, such as a cold, flu, or bronchitis.
  • Avoid exertion in extremely cold weather.
  • If you smoke, quit.
  • If you have allergies, avoid exertion when a reaction is likely to be triggered, as when the pollen count is high or the pollution index is high.

If you have frequent exercise-induced asthma attacks despite using preventive medication, or if you have attacks when you are not exercising, you need to see your health-care professional right away. You may need to use daily medication to control the underlying inflammation that is causing your frequent attacks.

Together, you and your health-care professional will develop an action plan for your particular situation in case of asthma attack. The action plan will include the following:

  • How to use rescue medication
  • What to do if the rescue medication does not work right away
  • When to call the health-care professional
  • When to go directly to a hospital emergency department
Last Reviewed 9/11/2017

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