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Exercise-induced Asthma


Exercise-induced asthma (EIA) is a temporary inflammation and narrowing of the airways of your lungs. EIA occurs during or 5 to 10 minutes after strenuous exercise. Irritants such as pollution, allergens, or cold, dry air may trigger an EIA attack. Your risk of EIA is increased if you have asthma. However, you may still have EIA even if you do not have asthma. EIA is also called exercised-induced bronchospasm.



  • Medicines help decrease inflammation, open airways, and make it easier to breathe. Short-acting medicine is taken right before strenuous exercise, or when you have symptoms. Long-acting medicine is taken daily to help prevent an exercise-induced attack. You may also need medicine to control allergies that trigger your symptoms. Ask your primary health provider (PHP) about your medicines and how to take them safely.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your primary healthcare provider (PHP) if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your PHP as directed:

You will need to return to make sure your medicine is working and your symptoms are controlled. You may be referred to an asthma specialist. Bring a list of your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Prevent an EIA attack:

  • Avoid known triggers , such as dust or pollen.
  • Choose exercise that requires only short bursts of intense breathing , such as baseball, wrestling, or sprinting. Avoid exercise that requires intense breathing for long periods.
  • Warm up before you exercise.
  • Wear a mask over your mouth when you exercise in cold weather. This will help warm the air you breathe.

Contact your PHP if:

  • You run out of medicine before your next refill is due.
  • Your symptoms get worse.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You have severe shortness of breath.
  • Your lips or nails are blue or gray.
  • The skin around your neck and ribs pulls in when you breathe.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.