asthma in sportAsthma is relatively common affecting up to 15% of children and young people in Ireland

Exercise can trigger asthma and so it is important to consider asthma in a player who is acutely breathless or who has a significant wheeze.

Characteristic symptoms:

  • A dry irritating and persistent cough which may get worse on exercise or in cold weather
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness


  • An acute flare up of asthma may occur while playing and cause the above symptoms
  • Many will use an inhaler containing a reliever (for example salbutamol) before they go out to play and perhaps at half-time
  • It is wise to have a reliever inhaler in the medical kit to treat those who may have forgotten or mislaid their inhaler
  • All reliever inhalers work quickly (within five minutes) and their peak effect is within 15 minutes.

If a player is too breathless to speak or to count to ten or complete a sentence then he or she should stop playing and should take their reliever inhaler and seek medical attention.


For information, advice and support contact the Asthma Society of Ireland – ASTHMA ADVICE LINE 1850 44 54 64 and visit