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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 or 5 to 10 minutes after strenuous exercise. Irritants such as pollution, allergens, or cold, dry air may trigger an EIB attack. Your risk of EIB is increased if you have asthma. You may still have EIB even if you do not have asthma.

Common symptoms include the following:

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

Seek immediate care 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:

  • You are use short-acting medicine every day, or more frequently than usual.
  • Your symptoms become 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. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her 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.

Prevent EIB attacks:

  • Avoid known triggers , such as dust or pollen.
  • Choose exercise that requires only short bursts of intense breathing, if possible. Examples include volleyball, gymnastics, baseball, wrestling, or sprinting. Exercise that requires intense breathing for long periods is more likely to trigger EIB.
  • 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.

Follow up with your doctor as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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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.

Learn more about Exercise-Induced Bronchoconstriction (Ambulatory Care)

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Further information

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