As Michele Bamberg chatted among the other parents, she couldn’t help but be filled with pride. Standing at the finish line of her daughter’s race, she anxiously waited to celebrate another feat of Paris’ athleticism and hard work. Paris had impressively came fourth, out of hundreds of participants, in the previous years race — and she planned to improve on her placement even more this time around. But as time passed, and her daughter’s peers began to trickle past the finish line, Michele got a sinking feeling in her stomach.
A few more minutes went by, and with each one, Michele grew more worried. With her mother’s instinct telling her that something wasn’t right, she began to backtrack from the finish line, making her way down the race route followed by Paris’s Dad, Rob. As she looked into the distance, her worst fear was confirmed. Paris was curled up in a ball on the ground. Breaking out into a sprint, Michele and Rob ran to their daughter’s aid. Trying to make sense of the chaos, they both realized that Paris was struggling to breathe. Rob scooped Paris up into his arms and ran with her to the paramedics who were waiting to assist. Although she had no previous history of wheezing, Paris was experiencing what is known as an exercise-induced asthma attack.
What Is Exercise-Induced Asthma?
Exercise-induced asthma is actually called exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB) and isn’t really asthma at all. Although EIB can occur in people without asthma, it is particularly problematic for people who have a history of wheezing. Furthermore an estimated 90% of people with asthma experience EIB. There is no specific cause of EIB, however it can be exacerbated by cold or dry air.
What Are The Symptoms Of Exercise-Induced Asthma?
Exercise-induced asthma symptoms usually take several minutes to manifest. The main symptoms include wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and coughing. The psychological symptoms can be equally as frightening, causing anxiety in those affected.
What Is The Treatment For Exercise-Induced Asthma?
If your doctor suspects that you may have exercise-induced asthma, they will investigate further, to rule out underlying chronic asthma. In Paris’ case, she was administered a spirometry test in the emergency room. A spirometer can measure how much air you inhale, and how much you exhale and how quickly. If it is determined necessary, your doctor may prescribe a drug that you can take before exercise to minimize or prevent exercise-induced bronchoconstriction.
For Paris, her exercise-induced asthma attack was scary, but she’s never let it hold her back. Now a thriving 15-year-old working toward a promising career in dance and the world of performing arts, she has just been awarded ‘Most Outstanding Freshman’s Women’s Chorus.’ With a winners mentality, (and a super mom and dad!) Paris is the perfect example of not allowing a negative experience to define who you are, and what you can achieve.
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