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About five million kids under the age of 18 have been diagnosed with asthma in the United States, making asthma the most common childhood chronic condition. Managing asthma in high school athletes is essential for optimal performance and preventing serious asthma attacks.
Understanding Asthma Symptoms
If you are a parent of a high school teen or a student yourself and have asthma, you know being an asthmatic can mean a lot of things. It can mean learning about various medications and what they do. It can also mean learning how to recognize symptoms early before they get worse. But one thing it does not mean is giving up sports.
Asthma is a chronic condition, which you may have to live with the rest of your life. In some instances, children grow out of exercise-induced asthma as they get older, while for others, asthma symptoms need to be managed throughout their lifetime. Luckily, there is a lot you can do to prevent asthma symptoms from flaring.
If you plan on playing sports or are a parent of a high school athlete, your first step is to become educated about asthma and asthma management guidelines. Hospitals often provide asthma education classes to parents and their children. These classes teach how to identify your asthma triggers and recognize early asthma symptoms, such as wheezing and chest tightness. Information on which medication to take is also provided.
Will Playing Sports Make Asthma Worse?
Everyone’s asthma is different. What causes symptoms to flare-up in one person may not bother someone else. For example exercise-induced asthma means symptoms are brought on by physical exertion. Breathing in cold air may make other people wheeze. Seasonal allergies can also trigger asthma symptoms in some people.
Depending on what triggers your asthma, playing sports, especially outside, may lead to symptoms. For example, high school athletes playing sports such as football or hockey in cold weather can be at a higher risk of developing symptoms. But that does not mean students should not participate in sports. As long as your doctor gives the OK, you can still be involved.
According to the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of American, in the United States, nine people die of an asthma attack each day. That figure does not include others who are hospitalized with severe asthma attacks each day. But many of those deaths and hospitalizations can be prevented with early recognition of symptoms and quick treatment.
Although it can vary, participating in sports usually does not cause an increase in asthma symptoms. Although students may get the green light for playing, it is essential they take an active role in their health and managing their asthma. Pretending the condition does not exist or ignoring symptoms may only lead to problems.