Healthcare professionals call it EIB – exercise-induced bronchospasm.Airway muscle spasms constrict airflow and cause shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, chest tightness and fatigue. It may happen during exercise, or not until after you stop. Often these symptoms are a sign of underlying asthma and lung inflammation. Sometimes, they are a totally separate condition.
A doctor experienced in EIB can tell the difference and recommend a treatment plan that may include medication, hydration and modifying your exercise routine.
“Warming up, cooling down, pre-treatment with albuterol and hydration will help the body function better whether your EIB is caused by asthma or not,” according to Timothy J. Craig, DO, Vice Chairman of the Asthma Diagnosis and Treatment Committee of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI).
Craig says a proper exercise routine for those with EIB should include 15-20 minutes of warm-ups. “Also, cooling down after a run may decrease post-exercise bronchospasm,” he adds.
Staying hydrated can also minimize symptoms. “It’s the dryness of the airway that causes EIB, which is more prevalent in cold, dry weather,” Craig says. “Control your allergies and rhinitis since the humidity provided by your nose may decrease dryness of your lower airway.”
American Thoracic Society Clinical Practice Guideline: Exercise-Induced Bronchoconstriction
Related articles and resources:
Fit to Breathe: Express Seminar on Exercise-Induced Bronchospasm (EIB). June 30, 2010. National Association of School Nurses annual conference. Chicago, IL.
A dynamic one-hour session to help school nurses identify students sidelined by asthma; help students set and achieve fitness goals safely; and review EIB symptoms, prevention techniques and treatments. Break-out sessions include hands-on training with inhalers, holding chambers and peak flow meters.
This express seminar was developed by Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics’ (AANMA) EIB faculty and sponsored by TEVA Respiratory.
Coordinated by Carol Jones RN, AE-C, Certified Asthma Educator consultant for AANMA. Presenters include Michael B. Foggs, MD, Chief of Allergy, Asthma Immunology for Advocate Health Centers of Advocate Health Care in Chicago and a member of NAEPP Third Expert Panel on the Management of Asthma; and Lisa Dorfman, MS, RD, CSSD, Director of Sports Nutrition and Performance at the University of Miami Department of Sports Medicine and author of “Performance Nutrition for Football.”