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Summer weather hurts athletes with asthma

Aug. 25, 2012 at 2:11 AM   |   Comments

DALLAS, Aug. 25 (UPI) -- Heat, poor air quality and demanding exercises for summer athletes create the threat of increased attacks for asthma sufferers, a U.S. researcher says.

Dr. Rebecca Gruchalla, who leads the division of allergy and immunology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, said before fall-sports schedules begin, athletes need to ensure their condition is well-controlled.

Gruchalla recommended:

-- Individuals with moderate to severe cases see a pediatrician, internist or asthma specialist to be sure asthma is properly controlled.

-- At the appointment, be prepared to answer questions about the frequency of symptoms, use of an albuterol, or short-acting inhaled bronchodilator, and sleep interruptions caused by asthma.

-- Have school nurses, trainers and coaches know about and pay close attention to athletes who suffer from asthma.

Gruchalla recommended athletes be allowed to ease into practice to see how well they tolerate exercising in the heat or in demanding conditions.

"Coaches should be alert for the signs and symptoms of asthma, which include shortness of breath, fatigue, chest tightness, coughs and wheezing," Gruchalla said in a statement. "Everyone should exercise extra caution on extremely hot days and high-pollution days."

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