Athletes Score With Allergies and Asthma

Allergies and asthma find a tough opponent

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Summer days and soccer fields. Balmy nights and baseball. Cheers rising from the crowd. The sights and sounds of summer athletics. And athletes with allergies and asthma probably know their first hurdle: allergens.

Peak performance calls for athletes to take a few enviromental precautions as part of getting on their game face.

"Manage your allergies for maximum athletic performance."

Allergist Myron Zitt, M.D., past president of The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) encourages athletes with allergies and/or asthma to feel good and participate in their favorite sports. Zitt said properly managing allergies and asthma helps to level the playing field with people who don't have allergies or asthma.

The ACAAI and its allergist members say people with asthma and allergies can make sure sports are fun and safe by following these tips:

Find the appropriate sport that suits your abilities as well as your limitations. Sports that involve a lot of running, like soccer, basketball and field hockey, can be tough but not impossible for people with exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB), commonly referred to as exercise induced asthma.

In addition to using your prescribed daily asthma control medications, use a short-acting, quick relief inhaler at least 20 minutes before exercise and warm up before beginning practice or the game.  If the amount of running required for your sport is too much, pick another sport  like golf or swimming.

The first-aid kit needs to be ready for allergic or asthmatic episodes. Make sure that it includes latex-free bandages and antihistamines. Injectable epinephrine is a must to have on hand in your personal possession or in the team's first aid kit at all times in case of a serious reaction, such as hives, difficulty breathing and swelling of the tongue.

Halftime snacks are one of the highlights for children at game time.  If you are responsible for supplying the food and refreshments check to see if any of the children have allergies, particularly to peanuts. 

Beware of opponents hiding in the wings such as wasps, bees, hornets and yellow jackets. 

Shower and wash your clothes promptly after practice and games to lessen exposure to outdoor allergens.

Game on!

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
May 10, 2011
Last Updated:
May 26, 2011