Students with asthma don't need to miss out on all the benefits and fun of physical activity. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) students who follow their asthma management plans and keep their asthma under control can usually participate vigorously in the full range of sports and physical activities. Encouraging a partnership among students, families, physicians and school personnel is key in managing and controlling asthma so that studetns can be active.

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic (long-term) lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways causing a person to have difficulty breathing. Ashtma causes recurring periods of wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath and coughing. These symptoms occur becuase the inflammation makes the airways overreact to a variety of stimuli including physical activity, upper repsiratory infections, allergens like pet dander, and irritants like cigarette smoke.

Taking Control of Asthma

  • It is important for studetns to work with their doctor to implement an Asthma Action Plan. Both the NHLBI and the website Kids Health provide exaples of a plan. A copy of the plan should be kept on file in the school office and parents should consider also providing a copy to teachers and coaches so they can identify their roles.
  • Efforts should be made to avoid or control asthma triggers
  • Teh student's asthma plan as well as the student's medications should be readily available for activities before, during and after school.
  • Teachers, coaches, and school personnel should be educated about this disease and be able to recognize asthma symptoms and take appropriate action. They should also be sensitive to the needs of studetns with asthma and work with them so they do not become discouraged during physical activity

United States Department of Health and Human Services
Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans - 2018