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Asthma sufferers can ski and snowboard

Skiing Asthmatics!
Skiing Asthmatics!
Shelby Valencia

With the Winter Olympics fast approaching, are you itching to find out what it’s like to fly down the slopes? You say you haven’t tried skiing, snowboarding or tubing because you have asthma? Well, put your worries aside. Yes, you can venture out into the incredibly picturesque mountains and enjoy a wonderful crisp winter day on the slopes.

Winter is not only a season that can be very cold, but is very dry as well. In addition to cold/flu viruses aggravating asthma, dryness can also irritate already sensitive bronchial tubes. Following are tips to protect yourself from an asthmatic attack so you, too, can enjoy the fresh winter fun. 

- If you have never been skiing and exercise-induced asthma is a problem for you, make sure you do some “training” in advance to be able to handle the physical strength required for skiing/snowboarding.
- Wear warm clothing in layers and take a ski mask or scarf to cover your nose/mouth while going down the hill.
- Take preventative medications as prescribed by your doctor before going to the slopes.
- Carry your rescue inhaler with you at all times, and make sure a friend knows where you keep it.
- Consider taking lessons and advise your instructor that you have asthma.
- Move slowly. Ski boots are heavy and awkward and you are wearing more heavy clothing than usual. Don’t try to move too quickly and wear yourself out before you even get on the chairlift!
- Keep yourself hydrated before, during and after. Winter dryness irritates already sensitive bronchial tubes, so get yourself some hot tea with honey, a bowl of chicken soup and drink plenty of water/fluids.
- Keep drinking water/sports drinks in your car along with a change of clothing with extra gloves so you will have warm, dry clothing for after skiing.

Where’s a good place to go? There are several ski resorts in California, but one of the closest to Los Angeles is Mountain High Ski Resort. Mountain High is Southern California's closest winter resort and is just about an hour away from Los Angeles and Orange County, with no mountain driving. They claim that you won't find an easier drive to the mountains anywhere.

When asked what measures they take in the event of an asthmatic attack where the rescue inhaler was not successful, Robert Chacon, Mt. High Patrol Manager, advised me that they would contact an Advance Life Support Ambulance if needed.

Feeling more confident? Put on those ski boots and hit the slopes. You’re in for an amazing ride. Remember, there is also plenty of room to build a snowman or two!

More information: WebMD


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