Don’t let asthma hold you back!
All students with well controlled asthma should be able to participate in all school sports. Exercise and sports are important for keeping our students fit and maintaining a healthy weight. Exercising improves our lung strength which is beneficial to students with asthma.
Students with asthma need to be able to recognise if their asthma is well controlled. Are they experiencing asthma symptoms (cough, wheeze, shortness of breath) more than twice a week?
Are they using their blue relief inhaler more than twice a week?
If they answer yes to these questions their asthma is not well controlled and exercise or sports activity may trigger their asthma symptoms.
Annual Asthma review
To achieve asthma control, the students need to ensure they are taking their preventer inhalers daily as prescribed. They may need to see their doctor or asthma nurse to review their treatment plan. It may need to be updated along with updating their “Asthma Action Plan”.
All students with asthma should have an annual review with their doctor to discuss their asthma treatment, the annual review is important as treatment guidelines may change as new evidence becomes available. Action plans may need updating as the student grows. Inhaler technique should be checked at every review, if they are not using their asthma inhaler devices correctly, they may not be getting the medication in their lungs where it is needed. They should also discuss their asthma triggers, they may need to take extra precautions if conditions exist that may exacerbate their asthma such as high pollen days.
Sports in Schools
As stated previously all students with asthma should be able to participate in all school sports, however some sports such as swimming are recognised as being beneficial to someone with asthma. Sports that have periods of inactivity such as baseball or cricket may be less likely to trigger asthma symptoms. Long endurance events may be more challenging but with the correct training and adherence to their asthma medications these can also be achieved. Some of the worlds best athletes have asthma, many having achieved Olympic medals and world records.
Paula Radcliffe MBE a marathon world record holder has asthma but has not let that hold her back from completing many marathons. Paula’s message is “You should control your asthma, not let it control you”.
However, there are some sports such as scuba-diving or cold weather sports like skiing which may require more precautions. Before scuba-diving all students with asthma should have a review with their doctor. Cold weather can be a trigger for asthma symptoms so in cold weather it is important to take time to warm up properly prior to exercise.
All students with asthma should make sure their school, teachers, coach and teammates are aware that they have asthma, they should always have their relief inhalers with them or know how to access them should they need them. They need to know what to do if their asthma symptoms flare up. Be prepared to prevent an asthma flare up becoming an asthma attack.