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Which sports are best for my child with asthma?

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Question: Which sports are best for my child with asthma?
Just because your child has asthma doesn't usually mean you need to steer clear from youth sports or keep him sidelined. Robust exercise, including running, jumping, and kicking, and team sports that encourage cooperation and coordination are typically a part of growing up. But for a child with asthma, some sports are better than others, and parents can introduce their kids to sport options that will keep them healthier over all. So, which sports are best for kids with allergies?
Answer: Choosing sports to play often starts with preschoolers, who may first learn a sport at an entry-level and may even continue it into high school and sometimes beyond. At the same time, most youngsters try many sports until they find one or two they feel more passionate about. Parents who have a child with special health conditions such as asthma, allergies, or other health conditions can help boost a child's self confidence and playing level by steering a child to certain sports that may keep them feeling their best.

When your youngster begins expressing in interest in sports, consider a visit to your child's pediatrician as a best first step. A candid talk about your child's overall health, any treatment options that can expand choices, or realistic limitations that should be noted from the start, can help start sports interest off on the right foot, so to speak.

Exercise-induced asthma attacks are often triggered under these conditions:

  • Cold environment sports such as ice skating, ice hockey, snow skiing, or snowboarding can be hard for asthma sufferers, as these sports not only require cold weather but intense physical activity


  • Robust or prolonged intensive efforts like soccer, high-skill gymnastics (such as tumbling), track and field, and basketball


  • Grueling conditions with extended play, such as football (depending on position and workout regiment)
Consider these more asthma-friendly sports:
  • swimming

  • baseball/softball

  • golf

  • martial arts

  • fencing

  • volleyball
Of course, if your child has his heart set on a particular sport, don't rule it out. Discuss options with your child's pediatrician, and consider looking for leagues that have less intensive play. Of course, you'll want to very closely watch your child at the same time to ensure conditions are not triggering asthma.

Since child care and school activities are increasingly promoting robust physical activity to help minimize the growing problem of early childhood obesity, and because children need daily exercise, be sure to discuss activities with the child's teacher or school/daycare nurse as well beforehand. If your child uses an inhaler, make sure that persons in charge have the inhaler on-site just in case an asthma attack is triggered. Organized sports aren't the only times a trigger can be incurred. Active games of relays, kick ball, and general conditioning can also trigger an attack, and you want to make sure everyone is aware and knows that to do to respond to an asthma attack. Of course, you'll want to be notified immmediately, regardless of how minor the attack is so you'll know for the future.

Keeping track of any conditions that trigger an attack will help you to make decisions on your child's activity choices based on how your she responds to exertion and the environment overall.

You might also want to check out ways to determine how asthma-friendly is your kid's child care or school setting.
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