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Exercise-induced bronchospasm and its associated factors among secondary school students in an urban community


Introduction: Exercise-induced bronchospasm (EIB) is a transient narrowing of the airway that usually occurs shortly after exercise. It occurs commonly in people with asthma; however EIB has also been reported in individuals without clinical asthma. The study aimed to determine the prevalence and factors associated with EIB among secondary school students.

Methods: It was a descriptive cross-sectional school- based study involving secondary school students aged between 10 and 17 years without previous history of asthma. Subjects undertook a six-minute running test, spirometry was done and the best of three FEV1 readings were obtained pre-exercise, at 5, 10, 15 and 30 minutes post exercise. The diagnosis of EIB was made when there was a decrease in FEV1 of ≥10% from baseline after exercise.

Results: Of the 265participants studied, 34 (12.8%) had EIB at 5 minutes post exercise. EIB was significantly more in the 10–13 years age group (χ2 = 18.416, p = <0.001), there was no significant gender difference. The presence of allergic (vernal) conjunctivitis and rhinitis were both significantly associated with the development of EIB (χ2 = 13.574, p < 0.001 and 0.011 respectively). There was no significant association with previous history of wheeze and exposure to indoor air pollution such as cooking with biomass fuel and parental cigarette smoking.

Conclusion: EIB exist among non-asthmatic school children, and it is more frequent in the early adolescent age-group. Students with allergic conjunctivitis and rhinitis are more likely to manifest exercise induced bronchospasm.