Asthma and Activities For Infants and Young Kids
When your child has asthma, you need to think about how their asthma will
react to the activities he or she take part in. It's best to
pick activities that are fun and healthy, and learn how to manage
his or her asthma during these activities.
When choosing an activity, think about:
Season: Does your child's asthma get worse in different seasons?
If it does, you may want to think about what season the activity
takes place in. For example, if cold air makes your child wheeze,
talk to your doctor or asthma educator about what to do to
prevent an asthma attack before playing outside.
Time Outs: Sometimes kids with asthma do better in activities with definite starts and
stops. Some activities with built in "time outs" for rest
include baseball and gymnastics. Sports like soccer don't allow
as much rest time, so soccer may be hard if your child's asthma
The big picture: An activity may seem like a good fit for your child in some ways, but
there may be other reasons not to choose it. For example, swimming
is frequently a great choice because the added moisture in the air
at the pool soothes inflamed lungs. On the other hand, some people
have asthma that is triggered by chlorine. So look at the whole
environment of the activity before you make your choice. If your child cannot be active without causing asthma trouble, talk to his/her health care provider. The goal is asthma control so your child can be as active as he/she wants to be.
After thinking about all of the above, talk over your choice with your
child's health care provider. He or she may have ideas about
ways your child can keep his or her asthma under control and be
active. For example, many kids can stay active as long as they
take their long-term medications as prescribed, and keep a
quick-relief medicine handy.
Whatever activity you choose, be sure to let the adult in charge know that warm up and cool down are important for a child with asthma, and give them a copy of your child's Asthma Action Plan so that they know how to keep your child breathing easy and can help if there is trouble. Keep in mind that symptoms from exercise or play can come 8-10 hours after it is done.
Adapted from "Asthma
& Physical Activity in the School," National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute,
NIH Publication No. 01-3651, 1995