Asthma Complexities

  • Medical Author:
    George Schiffman, MD, FCCP

    Dr. Schiffman received his B.S. degree with High Honors in biology from Hobart College in 1976. He then moved to Chicago where he studied biochemistry at the University of Illinois, Chicago Circle. He attended Rush Medical College where he received his M.D. degree in 1982 and was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society. He completed his Internal Medicine internship and residency at the University of California, Irvine.

  • Medical Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Quick GuideAsthma Symptoms, Causes, and Medications

Asthma Symptoms, Causes, and Medications

Ways to prevent and treat exercise-induced asthma

  • Choose an appropriate sport.
  • Make sure that your asthma is under good control before you begin exercising. Refrain from exercise and consult your doctor if your asthma is poorly controlled.
  • Warm up for at least 10 minutes prior to exercise. This takes advantage of a "window of safety" which may last up to an hour, often preventing exercise-induced asthma.
  • Avoid exercising in cold, dry air and on smoggy days. Covering the mouth and nose with a scarf in cold weather can be helpful.
  • If asthma symptoms occur during exercise, stop immediately and rest. Do not attempt to "run through" the symptoms. If your breathing difficulty continues, use an inhaled bronchodilator.
  • Following completion of exercise, do "cool down" exercises for 10 minutes to allow the bronchial tubes to re-warm slowly.
  • Preventative use of inhalers that contain cromolyn sodium (Intal) or bronchodilators, such as albuterol (Ventolin, Proventil), 15 to 20 minutes before exercise is usually effective. Long-acting bronchodilators, such as salmeterol (Serevent), should be taken 60 minutes before exercise. The leukotriene modifiers, montelukast (Singulair) and zafirlukast (Accolate), taken daily in pill form have been found to help prevent exercise-induced asthma in some athletes.

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