Can your asthmatic child participate in physical activity?
Exercise-induced asthma is likely to affect 80 to 90% of children with asthma. This can be a reason for fear for the child and the parents, especially when teaching physical education and sports at school. Regular physical activity helps develop the lung capacity of the asthmatic child. Thus, it is important to allow the child to play sports in order to improve his quality of life on a daily basis. However, precautions must be taken to practice physical activity safely.
How to recognize exercise-induced asthma?
Exercise asthma manifests itself a few minutes after intense physical exertion. Symptoms are those of asthma (wheezing, difficulty breathing, coughing).Generally, they regress spontaneously after 30 to 40 minutes. Symptoms can sometimes be unusual (chest pain, decreased performance, coughing fits).
Can asthmatic children play sports?
Asthma is not a contraindication to the practice of sport. On the contrary, an asthmatic child can and must do sports. Abnormal shortness of breath, fear of the onset of the crisis or fear of mockery from comrades, can cause the child to practice less and less physical activity. He then becomes less tolerant of effort, his physical capacities diminish, and he enters the vicious circle of physical deconditioning. Conversely, regular physical activity increases exercise tolerance by reducing breathing discomfort during exercise. Sports activity increases respiratory capacity, decreases the intensity of crises and allows better respiratory control. This better breath control allows the child to live with less anxiety from the asthma attack, to have less use of crisis treatment and to better accept the disease. In addition, sport is essential for relationship development, the child feels less isolated, which improves his quality of life.
What sport for my asthmatic child?
All sports can be practiced (except scuba diving with a bottle which is most often contraindicated). However, the effort must be regulated. Two factors must be taken into account: the intensity of the effort and the duration of it. Brief, strenuous exercise, as well as prolonged but lightly strenuous exercise, carries little risk. The intense exercises of 6-8 minutes are the most at risk. Long runs are likely to trigger a crisis when their intensity is too high. Thus, the child can run for a long time at moderate intensity. This level of intensity corresponds to the dyspn ea threshold, which is the moment when breathlessness appears and which therefore corresponds to the running speed that the child should not exceed. During exercise, the environment plays a very important role: the inspired air can contain pollutants, allergens or particles favoring the triggering of the crisis. It is best to avoid exercise on days of high pollination or peak pollution. Cold, dry air is asthmogenic, so it is advisable to favor activity in a hot and humid environment.
|Weakly asthmogenic activities||Highly asthmogenic activities.|
How to treat a stress asthma attack?
Current physical activity must be stopped. Be sure to sit and reassure the child. Follow the action plan in the event of an asthma attack. This is based on the administration of a fast-acting bronchodilator (eg VentolineⓇ). If there is no improvement, the administration of the crisis treatment will be repeated 5 to 10 minutes after. In case of signs suggesting a severe crisis (child having difficulty speaking, prostrate, pale, etc.) or in the absence of improvement following the administration of crisis treatment, an emergency service should be contacted (n ° 15 or 112). In order for your child to be able to follow sports education at school in complete safety, it is recommended to draw up an individualized reception protocol (PAI) with the reception structure for your child.
How to prevent these stress asthma attacks?
The prevention of stress asthma attacks relies on different elements.
Before practicing a sporting activity the child must have a good control of his asthma in order to have a good respiratory function at rest. For this, good compliance with the background treatment is essential. Do not hesitate to talk about it with the doctor who monitors your child.
Drug prevention most often consists of the administration of a short-acting bronchodilator (ex: VentolineⓇ) 10 to 15 minutes before the start of sports activity. The child must be in possession of the emergency treatment during sporting activity. Crisis treatment must be brought to the attention of the physical education and sports teacher, in particular by setting up an IAP.
Non-drug prevention consists of preparing your effort well. The beginning and the end of the physical exercise must be progressive. Warming up is essential because it helps prepare the bronchi for physical activity. A general warm-up by breathing exercises promotes breath control. It is advisable to breathe through your nose so that the inhaled air warms and moistens. At the end of the exercise it is necessary to stop gradually so that the bronchi adapt to a breathing of rest.
Therapeutic education is also very important because it will allow your child to recognize the warning signs, aggravating factors, asthma symptoms and to manage his stress asthma attack well. Many asthma schools across the territory welcome you with your child to discuss all the questions related to the management of your child’s asthma on a daily basis.
Finally, the main long-term treatment for exercise-induced asthma is improving your child’s physical abilities. Regular physical training helps to reduce the threshold for the appearance of exercise-induced asthma, to have better breath control and thus improve the quality of life of your child. For children whose respiratory function at rest is very impaired, supervised exercise training programs exist. The important thing is to practice physical activity at your own pace, to have fun, which will contribute to the quality of life of the child.