Parents of children with asthma always have to pay attention to anything that might trigger their child’s asthma. While there are certain inhalers and medicines out there that can help manage asthma symptoms and help to prevent attacks, it can still be nerve-wracking to see your child work up a sweat and get out of breath.
Your child’s asthma doesn’t have to keep your child out of the pool–and it shouldn’t! There are ways to both manage and be mindful of asthma symptoms during exercise, and this rings true for time spent in the pool, too.You can followthese tips for swimmers with asthma to know how to best avoid or manage symptoms from flaring up during a swim. **
1. Warm up
By starting your session with a proper warm-up, you’ll have time to adjust your breathing, reduce any breathing discomfort, and help reduce the risk of an asthma attack. Some kids with asthma find it helpful to use their rescue inhalers before engaging in exercise as a preventative measure, so don’t be afraid to pre-treat just in case (unless your doctor recommends otherwise).
2. Keep your rescue inhaler nearby
Always keep your rescue inhaler within reach in case your symptoms act up while you’re in the water. Parents who sit in the bleachers or on a pool chair can bring the rescue inhaler with them when they come to watch swim practice; older kids and teenagers can place the inhaler over by their towel or a few feet away from the edge of the pool for easy access in case of an emergency. (Be sure to keep the inhaler in a Ziplock to protect it from getting drenched, and make sure the swimmer’s name and contact info is labelled on the Ziplock, too!)
3. Keep the teacher informed
Make sure your child’s swimming instructor or swim coach knows that he or she has asthma! This can be a crucial–there’s a big difference between a non-asthmatic child running out of breath versus a kid with asthma running out of breath and knowing the difference can be a lifesaver.
4. Know your symptoms.
Don’t ignore symptoms–doing so can lead to a full-blown, dangerous asthma attack. Pay attention to any wheezing, coughing, breathlessness, chest tightness, or excess mucus. Pay attention to any of these symptoms that show up five-ten minutes after practice and use your inhaler accordingly.
5. Do a sniff test.
Chlorine doesn’t necessarily cause asthma; however, strong chemical smells can be a trigger for some asthma patients. Don’t spend too much time in the water if the smell of chlorine is strong, bothering you, or triggering asthma symptoms.
6. Consult your doctor
If you find yourself experiencing asthma symptoms more often (double your usual amount or more), be sure to see your doctor and review your action plan. If you’ve noticed that swimming makes your symptoms worse, talk with your doctor and see if your treatment plan is still applicable or if you need to adjust the plan of action.
7. Know when to get out of the pool
If you’re having an asthma attack in the pool, get out of the water right away. Use your rescue inhaler at once and try to rest. Alert your instructor, swim coach, or lifeguard and ask for help.
** We are not medical experts; we are swimming instructors. With that in mind, always consult your doctor prior to enrolling any child with asthma in swim lessons. **
All of us here at The Aqua Life Swim Academy want our swimmers to be safe in the water. If you have asthma, or if you’re the parent of a child with asthma, be sure to speak with your instructor about your asthma symptoms and action plan so you can continue to be safe and enjoy your time in the pool.