There are several things you can do to help manage EIA.
Control your day-to-day asthma
- If you have symptoms of asthma more than 3 times a week, your asthma is not well controlled.
- See your doctor to review your medicines and ask for an asthma self-management plan.
- Try to avoid exercising on days when you are experiencing more-severe asthma symptoms, eg, when you are getting a cold.
Do more asthma-friendly activities
Activities involving stopping and starting or a warm moist environment are less likely to cause EIA. For example, try walking, tramping, tennis, yoga, martial arts, T'ai chi, aerobics or team sports.
Remember to warm-up
Stretching and a few minutes of brisk walking or skipping before exercise:
- helps prevent EIA
- protects you from sprains and strains
- gets you in the mood to move.
Check weather conditions
- If you have a choice, exercise inside on cooler, dryer days.
- If you are outside and it is cold, wear a thin, warm scarf loosely around your lower face to help warm the air you breathe.
Use your reliever inhaler before activity
Take 1 or 2 puffs of reliever medicine (usually blue-coloured) just before you start physical activity. If you need to take reliever medicine more than once after your initial puff, stop your activity session for that day. Using a spacer increases the effectiveness of metered dose inhalers (MDIs).
If you exercise often and you need a dose of reliever before and during your session, ask your doctor to reassess your preventer medication. You might also like to discuss with your doctor whether long-acting inhaler relievers (symptom controllers) may be an option for you, as they often help people with EIA. You need to be taking regular preventer medication to be prescribed these.
Breathe – don't heave
Taking slow deep breaths through your nose with the right breathing pattern can help people with EIA (see below).