Asthma is a common condition affecting about 20 per cent of the population in Australia. It generally develops in childhood although may not be diagnosed as such. It is associated with allergic rhinitis with about 80 percent of patients with chronic asthma having allergic rhinitis, which frequently is not treated adequately. There is a relationship with other atopic (allergic) conditions including atopic dermatitis (eczema) and food allergies.
Exercise, especially running for an extended period can provoke an episode of asthma, particularly in cold weather. Nasal or other upper airways obstruction such as enlarged adenoids and tonsils, resulting in mouth breathing can aggravate this. Therefore it is helpful to identify specific allergens that are likely to be causing the allergic symptoms, as these would tend to aggravate the asthma. Allergy to grass and weed pollens would be problematic for your son playing soccer on the grass, especially during the spring and summer months.
Exercise is beneficial to improve lung capacity and function, so he should continue to play soccer (football). It is important to ensure that he breathes more through his nose than his mouth and he may require treatment such as a corticosteroid nasal spray for this. Depending on the severity of his symptoms he can use an inhaled bronchodilator such as salbutamol (Ventolin) or terbutaline (Bricanyl). Montelukast (Singulair) can help improve exercise-induced asthma, as well as allergic rhinitis in some people and is worth trying, particularly as it has no significant side effects. Other preventative medications include nedocromil (Tilade) and inhaled corticosteroids, either alone or as combination medications (Symbicort, Seretide).
So it is best to discuss this with your family doctor and have further specialist assessment if required, in order to provide the best long term outcome for your son.
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