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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What will my son's future look like with asthma?

    My son was recently diagnosed with asthma and has an inhaler. He has always enjoyed playing sports and we would have liked to see him continue playing soccer through high school and uni. Is this still possible given his condition?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 3


    Zac Jefcoate

    Exercise Physiologist

    Zac Jefcoate is the owner of Exzac Health Solutions. He was one of three accredited exercise physiologist practicing in G.P super clinics in Western Australia. … View Profile

    Yes, this is still possible given his condition. Asthma can be well-treated with both an inhaler and his preventer. In terms of exercise, and can he still exercise, it's really important to understand that he uses his medication prior to exercise, during, and after. So as an exercise physiologist, we'd design exercise programs based on his medication, his current personal regime, and exercises that may make his condition better.

    The most important thing with exercise and asthma is that we provide a program which aims at starting with the duration of exercise first with low intensity, gradually increasing the intensity as the client's aerobic fitness improves.

  • 2


    Dr Alexander Lozynsky

    Allergy Specialist & Immunologist

    Consultant allergist and immunologist, with particular interest in allergic rhinitis and sinusitis, allergic respiratory disorders, food allergies and sensitivity and allergic skin conditions, including atopic … View Profile

    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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