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Exercise-induced Asthma

What is exercised-induced asthma?

Exercise-induced asthma (EIA) is a temporary inflammation and narrowing of your airways. 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.

What are the signs and symptoms of EIA?

You may cough, wheeze, or have chest pain during or after you exercise. You may also feel out of shape when you exercise, even though you are in good physical condition.

How is EIA diagnosed?

Lung function tests will be done to measure the airflow in your lungs and show how well you can breathe. Your caregiver may test your lungs before and after you exercise. You may be given medicine to trigger an EIA attack. Your caregiver will test your lungs before and after you take the medicine.

How is EIA treated?

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.

How can I help 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.

When should I contact my caregiver?

  • 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.

When should I seek immediate care or call 911?

  • 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.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

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