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Breathe easy: Inhalers and EpiPen tips for athletes

Chalkboard illustration of sports equipment

Many sports teams have players who suffer from asthma or allergies that can cause severe reactions.

For these players, rescue medicines like albuterol inhalers or EpiPens can be lifesavers, if administered properly and quickly.

When an attack or reaction suddenly occurs, everyone looks for these rescue medicines to help.

Keep handy

Student athletes with asthma or allergies that can cause severe reactions should keep rescue medicines on the sidelines and make sure coaches and athletic trainers have ready access.

Pack your gear as if traveling:
  • Keep all medicines in their original containers in one place within your sports bag.
  • Make sure you have a plan for what to do if allergy or asthma symptoms worsen.
  • Share this plan with coaches, athletic trainers and other adult team staff.
  • When possible, avoid outdoor and indoor environments or foods that trigger asthma or allergy symptoms.

Make your medicines mobile

For student athletes in non-contact sports like cross-country or track, rescue medicines should be carried at all times in a pocket or pouch. It’s too far to run back to the locker room, car, bus or the event start/finish line in an emergency.

Similar advice is recommended for recreational sports like hunting or fishing.

Asthma, severe allergies and exercise can mix

An asthma diagnosis doesn’t mean you can no longer participate in sports. Follow a few steps to help reduce the risk of having an asthma attack while exercising.

The most serious allergic reactions cause anaphylaxis, a severe and potentially deadly allergic reaction. An EpiPen is the most common way to treat a severe allergic reaction in an emergent situation.

This post provided by Sports Wrap, from Marshfield Clinic Sports Medicine.

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