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Swimming & Asthma

I was diagnosed with asthma at the age of 7. My doctor recommended that I take up swimming and despite the fact that I suffer from exercise induced asthma & am sensitive to chlorine, swimming improved my quality of life by strengthening my lungs.

I always kept a reliever (blue) inhaler at the end of my lane during training sessions and got advice & support from my doctor but having asthma didn't stop me from becoming World and Commonwealth champion.

Swimming is an excellent form of exercise for most children & young people with asthma as the warm humid air in the pool is less likely to trigger symptoms.

This is not the case for everyone though and chlorine or swimming in cold water can trigger asthma for some. To minimise the effects of cold air teachers/coaches should ensure everyone is thoroughly warmed up and that they have taken their inhaler beforehand.

Unfortunately many coaches and swimming teachers are still concerned about working with children with asthma as they are worried about the effects of asthma medicines and the risk of an attack.

By following these simple steps any child with asthma can participate as much as they are able and parents can have confidence that they are being looked after by an informed professional.

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FOR PARENTS

•Make sure the teacher knows if your child has asthma.
•Ensure that your child always has their reliever inhaler (usually blue) with them
•If swimming makes your child's asthma worse always ensure that they use their reliever inhaler (usually blue) immediately before they warm up before swimming
•If you use a powder device make sure it is kept dry
•Try to avoid things that can trigger their asthma such as smoke and pollen

FOR TEACHERS

•Always start a session with warm up exercises
•If a child has symptoms of asthma while they are swimming, ensure they stop, take their inhaler and wait 5 minutes or until they feel better before starting again
•If a child has to sit out for 5 minutes try to involve them as much as possible by, for example, letting them be in charge of the stop watch/note down times, getting them to cheer for their friends or watch/take notes on others' techniques
•Always end sessions with a warm down