Skip to Content

Exercise Induced Bronchoconstriction


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


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.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • Your symptoms get worse.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


  • Medicines may be given to help decrease inflammation, open airways, and make it easier to breathe. You will use an inhaler to take these medicines. Your healthcare provider will tell you the kind of inhaler to use and show you how to use it. Short-acting medicine is taken 15 minutes before you 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.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider 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 healthcare provider 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 EIB attacks:

  • 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. Do moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, for 10 minutes before you do strenuous exercise.
  • Wear a mask over your mouth when you exercise in cold weather. This will help warm the air you breathe.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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.