Everyone should be able to enjoy and participate in their favorite sport, even those who suffer from allergies and asthma. However, we know it can be very difficult sometimes to manage allergies and asthma while being active, especially during the spring and fall when allergens are at their worst. It’s difficult to perform at your peak level when your nose is stuffy and you can’t breathe, as you are not able to use your lungs to their full capacity.
If you want to manage your or your child’s symptoms like a champ this season, check out these asthma and allergy tips for athletes that can help level the playing field.
1. Alert the coach to your or your child’s condition, and inform them on what to do if and when an emergency occurs.
2. In order to stop the sneezing and wheezing during a practice or game, make sure to take the needed medication before the game or practice so it has time to kick in.
3. For allergy and asthma sufferers it is important to take any daily medications ahead of time and to have on hand a quick relief inhaler. Sports that involve a lot of running can easily aggravate exercise-induced asthma.
4. Get any allergy shots ahead of time, this can help prevent any chance of being sidelined.
5. If the condition is serious enough to where an injectable epinephrine pen is needed, make sure the coach and/or athletic staff knows how to administer in case a severe allergic reaction occurs.
6. Keep the first aid kit stocked with latex-free band aids, antihistamines for minor reactions, and injectable epinephrine pens in case of an emergency.
7. If the asthma is severe, switch to sports that are more “asthma friendly.” Sports such as field hockey, soccer and basketball can be tough, so go for a sport that involves less running, such as golf, baseball or swimming.
8. If you or your child suffers from any food allergies, make sure everyone is informed. This includes the team, athletic staff, and the parents.
9. Pollen levels tend to be at their highest on warm, windy days. If you or your child are badly affected by pollen, make sure that on these days you stay and train indoors instead!
10. Check what the pollen counts are for the day by going online. If the level is very high, try to stay indoors.
11. If you do go outdoors, go out when the pollen levels tend to be lower. A safe time is generally in the afternoon and evening.
12. Turn on the AC in the home and car and close those windows. This will help keep the pollen out of the space.
13. You should wash immediately after playing. You want the sweat off of your body of course, but the main reason is so you can wash away any pollen that got stuck to you during your time outdoors.
14. Besides washing yourself, you should wash your clothes in hot water after your time outdoors and leave your shoes by the door. You don’t want to track pollen and other allergens across the house.