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Coping with asthma: helping your child excel at sports

Author: Ken Stanfield
Published: Nov 21 2012

Your children, like most, are full of energy. They run around like crazy people and never seem to slow down. So enrolling them in a sports program seems like a great idea. Until you pick them up from practice and they are sullen, disappointed in themselves.

"I just couldn't run anymore."

That doesn't make sense. Your children can always run. You can't get them to stop running. But asthma can. Staying active for a long period of time can reveal asthmatic tendencies in your children. However, this doesn't mean that they can't excel at sports; you just need to give them the tips and tools they need to succeed.

Once upon a time, kids with asthma were discouraged from playing sports. It has since been shown that regular physical activity can not only keep them in shape but strengthen their breathing muscles. The asthma does have to be under control, however. Here are the steps you take in order to get there.

As with all aspects of living with asthma, awareness is key. You should be aware of what triggers asthma attacks in your child. If you know they happen when something is in the air or when your child pushes themselves to a certain limit, then you can be more prepared. Talk to your doctor about whether preventative medication is necessary. Your child should always have an inhaler on hand, especially when playing sports.

Make sure that your child knows how to react to an asthma attack so that negative experiences don't ruin the sport for him or her. Certain habits such as breathing through the nose rather than the mouth and simply taking enough time to warm up and cool down can reduce the risk of exercise-induced asthma attacks. Talk to your child's doctor about what other steps can be taken to prevent attacks.

Communication is vital to ensuring your child's safety. Make sure that your child knows that if they feel an attack coming on, they are to stop what they are doing immediately and try to breathe calmly. There is no shame in your children taking care of themselves. Their teammates and coach will understand.

The coach also needs to know what is going on. Tell the coach the extent of your child's asthma, the triggers, and how to react in case of an attack.

With some work, your child should easily be able to manage their asthma and still play the sports they love. The benefits of physical activity and team sports are numerous, so keeping them capable of participating is a great thing. Don't let asthma get the best of your child. They will thank you not only for the fun times but for keeping them safe as well.

Ken Stanfield is a writer, blogger and health enthusiast who spends his time researching and writing about respiratory health, healthcare, geriatric healthcare needs and humanitarianism. He currently writes for the nebulizer systems supplier

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