Typically, those with exercise-induced asthma start wheezing 10-20 minutes after they stop exercising and the wheezing usually will stop after 60-90 minutes without treatment. However, symptoms may spontaneously return 4-6 hours after the initial exercise. This reoccurrence may be of concern to Taekwondo students who attend a camp or a tournament where they may need to exert themselves 4-6 hours after an initial physical exertion. Athletes in sports requiring short bursts of energy are generally less affected by exercise-induced asthma than those competing in sports with longer energy requirements, such as long distance running, so Taekwondo athletes may be less susceptible than long distance runners but there are individual variations.
Treatment of exercise-induced asthma focuses on prevention of symptoms through proper conditioning and warm up and use of medications to open the airways. Prior to training, those afflicted with exercise-induced asthma should warm up at least 5 minutes in a high humidity environment, such as in an indoor pool, whirlpool, hot tub, or sauna. Although this is most effective means of prevention, it may not be the most practical. Asthma sufferers should strive to nose breath as much as possible during training and competition. Proper physical training improves endurance, reduces the need to breathe through the mouth, and decreases symptoms of exercise-induced asthma.
The use of certain medications, such as Albuterol (Ventolin, Proventil) inhalers, has been shown to be 90% effective in preventing symptoms of exercise-induced asthma. The recommended regimen is 2 puffs 10-15 minutes prior to competition. Albuterol produces rapid results and lasts up to 4-6 hours. Those with chronic asthma may benefit from inhaled steroids taken on a regular basis in addition to the use of albuterol inhalers prior to exercise. Other medications shown to be of benefit to chronic asthmatics include cromolyn sodium (Intal) and the new leukotriene inhibitors (Accolate). These medications are effective when taken regularly as a preventive measure.