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Kritter471 02-08-2012 06:13 PM

Strategies for hockey-induced asthma
Okay, I've decided I'm really tired of dealing with my asthma for 24 hours after hockey, and I'm hoping someone on here has developed better strategies than I have.

Reference point: Asthmatic since childhood and on Advair 250/50 twice a day to control as well as Ventolin as necessary. Triggers are the usual (pollen, cigarette smoke, mold, etc.) with a heaping helping of exercise issues as well. I tend to cough a lot more than I wheeze, and I pretreat with Ventolin 15-20 minutes before each game.

As anyone with asthma probably knows, hockey is the world's worst sport for triggering it. Cold, dry air combined with anaerobic bursts is just killer. I feel like I'm dying for the first 15 minutes or so then level off for the rest of the game with relatively mild symptoms. That's not the issue.

The issue is I cough like I'm dying for about the next 24 hours, and it's all asthma. I've read enough about EIA to know that's a lengthy, post-exercise productive cough is entirely uncommon, but it's a big, giant pain in the butt. I don't want to use the Ventolin too much, so I usually just use it once later that night to try and get the coughing to go away long enough for me to sleep.

Any tips on better pretreating or managing the post-hockey asthma fun? Cause I'm sick of it at this point.

vexXed 02-08-2012 06:34 PM

It sounds like you have quite a serious case of asthma so I can't really relate. I have it too but and it used to be triggered by things like cat / dog hair, pollen and even light exercise but after some time in cleaner air the only thing that triggers it now is sustained exercise.

I'm not sure what Advair is but before hockey games I take 1 hit of my Ventolin inhaler and that is all I need to feel fine. I don't get wheezes during or after the game and it's as if I don't even have it. There have been times when I forgot to take my inhaler and I can feel it coming back after a few shifts so I know I haven't gotten rid of it.

Have you tried experimenting by pretreating with your inhaler at different times? Say for example right before you get on the ice or 30 mins before a game? For me the effect is almost instant but maybe it is different for other people.

Also the obvious question, have you seen a doctor about it? I don't get why you are coughing after the games as that doesn't really sound like asthma which is having trouble breathing as the wind pipe closes up, as you know. The only time I coughed for a while was when I took too many hits with my inhaler as I thought the gas wasn't coming out properly but I actually had like 4-5 hits.

How come you don't want to use Ventolin too much? I feel your pain... it would be hell to go through that after every game.

Kritter471 02-08-2012 06:52 PM

There's a type of asthma that's informally called "cough-variant asthma," which is what I tend towards. I get tight and produce a lot of mucus in my chest that has to be coughed up, but the amount of gunk tends to hide the traditional "wheezing" sound. I've just been that way since I was little. It's as gross as it sounds, too. But I'm definitely a doctor-certified asthmatic with the peak-flow meter to prove it (and that also drops significantly into the 70-80 percent range in the hours after games, which is another clue it's the asthma acting up).

I've talked to my local doctor, but I try to stay out of her office if I don't have bronchitis or pneumonia. Her solution was to up my dose of Advair, which is a combo inhaled corticosteroid/long-term bronchiodialotor. It made a definite impact, and there's another level to go up to, but because my asthma is very well controlled when not playing hockey, I don't really want to if I can help it. The higher you go on the steroids, the more likely you are to get wonderful things like thrush.

The asthma-specialist I used to see and love in Dallas won't give me any advice anymore now that I live in another state. He got me on Advair in the first place, and it was like a lightbulb going off. I didn't realize how bad my breathing was until I got on it. Heck, it's what made me feel good enough to take up hockey.

I have not experimented with the Ventolin timing, though I probably should. And I don't want to take it too much because it's a stimulant and makes me jittery and my heart race (on top of what's already going on with the workout). That's why I don't take a hit during the game, either.

vexXed 02-08-2012 07:18 PM

I didn't know about that cough variant type of asthma so that makes sense now.

I was thinking decongestants would help and a quick look around suggested Sudafed, Mucinex and Flovent. There must be something online out there that can help out.

When I take Ventolin I do notice I feel really 'ready' for the game. I wouldn't say jittery but maybe close enough to that feeling. Never really noticed if my heart rate was faster as after a few shifts I thought that would be the cause. I will try to notice that before I step out on the ice next time.

Good luck in your search and I hope you find something that helps.

ArrogantOwl 02-08-2012 09:46 PM

Have you tried a spacer for your inhaler? I use one and I can definitely feel the difference in my lungs between straight from the inhaler to letting it space out a little. I also like to take a preemptive dose to make sure it doesn't start right away. I know what you mean with the dry coughing and tight throat, it sucks.

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