What do Nancy Hogshead, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Bill Koch, Greg Louganis, and
Dominique Wilkins all have in common? Each is a famous athlete who has asthma.
They come from diverse fields: swimming, track and field, cross-country skiing,
diving, basketball, and long-distance running. Following their asthma management
plans helped these athletes become winners.
Students who follow their asthma management plans and keep their asthma under
control can usually participate vigorously in the full range of sports and
physical activities. Activities that are more intense and sustained -- such
as long periods of running, basketball, and soccer -- are more likely to provoke
asthma symptoms or an asthma episode. However, Olympic medalists with serious
asthma have demonstrated that these activities are possible with good asthma
When a student experiences asthma symptoms or is just recovering from a recent
asthma episode, exercise should be temporarily modified in type, length, or
frequency to help reduce the risk of further symptoms. The student needs convenient
access to his or her medications.
Actions for school staff to consider:
- Include adequate warm-up and cool-down periods. These help prevent or lessen
episodes of exercise-induced asthma.
- Consult the student's asthma management plan, parent/guardian, or health
care provider on the type and length of any limitations. Assess the student
and school resources to determine how the student can participate most fully.
- Remember that a student who experiences symptoms or who has just recovered
from an asthma episode is at an even greater risk for additional asthma problems.
Take extra care. Observe for asthma symptoms, and check the student's peak
flow if he or she uses a peak flow meter. Review the student's asthma management
plan if there are any questions.
- Monitor the environment for potential allergens and irritants, for example,
a recently mowed field or refinished gym floor. If an allergen or irritant
is present, consider a temporary change in location.
- Make exercise modifications as necessary to get appropriate levels of participation.
For example, if running is scheduled, the student could walk the whole distance,
run part of the distance, or alternate running and walking.
- Keep the student involved when any temporary but major modification is
required. Ask the student to act, for example, as a scorekeeper, timer, or
equipment handler until he or she can return to full participation. Dressing
for a physical education class and participating at any level is better than
being left out or left behind.
Created by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Review Date: 5/16/2007
Reviewed By: Alan Greene, M.D., F.A.A.P., Department of Pediatrics, Packard Children's Hospital, Stanford University School of Medicine; Chief Medical Officer, A.D.A.M., Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997-
A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.