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Exercise-Induced Asthma

The asthma specialists at UPMC in central Pa. diagnose and treat exercise-induced asthma in children and adults.

Why choose UPMC in Central Pa. for exercise-induced asthma treatment?

Exercise-induced asthma, which is also called exercise-induced bronchoconstriction, can affect your ability to participate in exercise and other activities you enjoy. At UPMC in central Pa., we understand that exercise plays an important role in your fitness and well-being. We offer a full range of tests and treatments for exercise-induced asthma, including:

Diagnostic Tests for Exercise-Induced Asthma

  • Skin testing. Skin testing, also called scratch testing, exposes your skin to small amounts of allergy-causing substances (allergens) and can identify environmental allergy triggers, such as pollen, dust mites, pets, and mold, that may be causing or worsening your exercise-induced asthma.
  • Pulmonary (lung) function tests. Lung function tests are noninvasive and provide information about how well your lungs are working. There are several types of lung function tests, including:
    • Spirometry. A spirometry test measures how much air your lungs can hold and how forcefully you can breathe out.
    • Lung volume test. A lung volume test measures the volume of air in your lungs and how much air is left in your lungs at the end of a normal breath.

After your first round of lung function testing, your health care provider may give you an inhaled medication called a bronchodilator and ask you to repeat the test(s). Your health care provider will compare your test results to determine if the medication was effective.

Medications for Exercise-Induced Asthma

  • Medications may be able to help treat exercise-induced asthma. Some medications are taken before exercise to prevent exercise-induced asthma, and other medications are taken daily to provide long-term control. Your doctor may also prescribe quick-relief medications for use if symptoms appear suddenly. Your health care provider will let you know what type of medication is right for your condition.

Patient Education for Exercise-Induced Asthma

  • Our specialists provide the education and information you need to manage your exercise-induced asthma, including asthma inhaler instruction.

What is exercise-induced asthma?

Exercise-induced asthma, which is also called exercise-induced bronchoconstriction, occurs when the airways in your lungs become narrowed during strenuous exercise.

What are the symptoms of exercise-induced asthma?

Symptoms of exercise-induced asthma usually begin a few minutes after exercise and may continue after stopping exercise if left untreated. Symptoms may include:

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Chest pain
  • A feeling of tightness in the chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Reduced athletic performance
  • Avoidance of physical activity

If you experience severe wheezing or shortness of breath during exercise — or wheezing or shortness of breath that does not get better even after you stop exercising — dial 911.

Who is at risk for exercise-induced asthma?

Researchers aren’t sure exactly what causes exercise-induced asthma, but there is evidence that suggests certain conditions may trigger or increase the risk of exercise-induced asthma, including:

  • Cold, dry, or polluted air
  • Chemicals used in pools (chlorine) or ice-rink resurfacing
  • Respiratory infections
  • Lung disease
  • High pollen counts

How can I prevent exercise-induced asthma?

Although you may not be able to prevent exercise-induced asthma itself, there are a few things you can do to prevent flare-ups. You should try to warm up and stretch before strenuous exercise. You also should use your rescue inhaler 10 minutes before you begin strenuous exercise and follow any other instructions from your doctor about using your medication.



Specialty Care ENT – UPMC
250 Fame Avenue
Suite 201, (Entrance A)
Hanover, PA 17331

Phone: 717-633-9229
Fax: 717-633-5552

Specialty Care ENT – UPMC
508 S. Washington Street
Gettysburg, PA 17325

Phone: 717-334-8171
Fax: 717-334-8172

UPMC Allergy and Immunology
Located at UPMC Outpatient Center
21 Waterford Drive
Mechanicsburg, PA 17050

Phone: 717-988-9180
Fax: 717-775-5723


Need more information?

Many of our providers offer video visits. Call the office or schedule via your patient portal.

Phone: 717-988-9180

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