THE ASTHMATIC CHILD AND HIS PARTICIPATION IN SPORTS AND PHYSICAL EDUCATION
Bronchial Asthma is a chronic pulmonary disorder, frequently allergic in nature, and characterized by paroxysms of dyspnea, wheezing, tightness in the chest, and bronchospasm. Asthmatic attacks may be minor and short in duration with little discomfort, or they may be very severe and of long duration, producing the characteristic picture of intractability. During symptomatic periods, it is usually possible to demonstrate changes in certain aspects of pulmonary function. With mild symptoms or between the episodes of severe asthma, the individual may be at little or no disadvantage in any or all activities. However, when the symptoms of pulmonary distress become severe or prolonged, this may lead to interruption of the child's daily routine, including school attendance. Occasionally, such children may become home or hospital bound for long periods of time.
Between the two extremes of no symptoms and severe asthma, there is a spectrum of respiratory or pulmonary disability—the nature and severity of which requires that each child receive individual consideration and evaluation in the matter of his daily activity. The outlook for the control of asthma in children has been improving during the past several decades. However, with the increase in population, there is an increasing number of children who require medical management for this disorder. It is a leading medical cause for school absenteeism and probably contributes to inefficient school work because of chronic fatigue, irritability, decreased attention span, and secondary emotional disorders.
There is general agreement among physicians that most children with bronchial asthma should attend regular school since, when under proper control and with no residual pulmonary defect, the child needs no special facilities.
- Copyright © 1970 by the American Academy of Pediatrics