Tenniszine - UK tennis blog.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Playing with asthma

With the interesting story behind Alex Bogomolov's ban and the oncoming winter season in the UK, I thought I would write about playing with asthma.

As an asthmatic I am quite lucky that my asthma is not severe and under good control. This was not always the case. Things improved in my mid 30's when I changed my sedentary lifestyle to a more active one with regular walking and gardening, and additionally started taking Beclomethasone which is an inhaled steroid. Further changes included taking up tennis and the associated aerobic fitness exercise (running, cycling) that is needed to maintain a good standard of play. I still occasionally need to take a Ventolin inhaler, which contains salbutamol the drug that was detected in Alex Bogomolov's test, but typically this is only if I get a heavy chest cold or cough, or sometmes in cold weather.

Playing tennis, running or exercise in cold weather with asthma needs some precautions. A slow build up or warm up is needed to prevent the irritation caused by cold air that can trigger asthma. I usually do a 10-15 minute warm up anyway before playing tennis, summer or winter, and then in winter when the air is cold will take a pre-tennis puff on the Ventolin inhaler.

Like many asthmatics I am allergic to aspirin and some NSAID's such as Ibuprofen. This is a pity since not be able to orally take anti-inflammatories for injuries can be a problem. However I have found by trial and error that the NSAID creams and gels, Movelat, Voltarol and BIOFREEZE, mentioned here are tolerated just fine by me. I do have some problems with some of the smellier creams, such as Deep Heat or Radian B, which typically have menthol or some other strong smelling agent. It's the smell which my lungs are unhappy with and not the absorption of the NSAID through the skin.

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