For Parents Chalk Dust and Asthma

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My daughter is having trouble with a productive cough not helped with asthma meds (prednisone, advair & singulair), they did a bronchoscopy and said they saw thick white mucous, and I am starting to wonder if it has anything do to with inhaling chalk dust. she has only had one practice since my theory, and she said she coughed alot on bars (8 year old level 5 )anyone out there having the same problem? Does anyone use or know of any type of liquid alternative?thanks!!

Chalk is Magnesiuom Carbonate. Completely safe and non-toxic. It is even found in many everyday foods. I have been around a gym almost daily for 23 years of my life. Most gyms are indoors, and sealed off to the outside world for the most part. Not much ventilation. I have had people with allergies or asthma complain, but not because of the chalk. Chalk has been used for many, many, many, many years, and if it was dangerous another substance would have already been being used. Don't worry about the chalk. If you think it may be a cause to the problem, have your child use less. Hope this eases your mind a bit.
I am Mom to two asthmatic gymnasts. They have both gone through periods of seemingly uncontrolled asthma. Right now everything is well under control (singulair,pulmicort, bricanyl). I have often worried about the chalk dust. I think anything that can get in their lungs can be irritating, even if it is not toxic. I encourage my girls not to linger around the chalk bowl, they do not wear grips so that do not really need much anyway.

I suppose asking your daughters specialist would be a good idea. But, at the end of the day she is probably not going to stop gym even if it is the chalk dust.

As for other medications only your doctor could really make suggestions. Our daughters also struggled a lot with allergies last year, which compounded their symptoms. SO perhaps soem allergy testing might be helpful.

Good luck, I know how frustrating it is to hear your child coughing constantly, made me feel like a bad Mom, other parents would always comment, as though my kid might make theirs sicks. I felt I should get them a shirt with "it's not a cold, it's asthama!" on the front.:D
Non toxic substances can be irritants to some people(No kids with asthma, but was a RN). Really the only way to tell is to see how she is out of the gym---1-2 weeks not in that enviornment. Improve/same/worse?

You're not going to get great ventilation in the gym as somone mentioned and as the girls clap their hands together etc., the chalk goes flying around. Until you can see her doctor again, try having her be the 1st to get a little chalk on her hands and then back away from the rest of the group. Make the coach aware this may or MAY not be a problem for her.

Keep us updated on how she does!
I have asthma and I found sometimes at gym it would be a little worse. All of the chalk and dust do cause some problems, especially if the gymnast has problems breathing around dust. Try having the girls drink a lot of water while at the gym, to clear out their throats. Also, keep an eye on her outside of the gym--see if and where the differences in her coughing and what not. Please do keep us updated!
My brother has terrible asthma. Airborne particles makes it much worse. His asthma got worse over time. He would turn greenish white and cough until he threw up. We had to take him to the hospital during one meet (and he was just watching...he's not a gymnast). He now has a problem even stepping foot in a gym.

Chalk dust DOES bother some people.:eek:
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:eek: Wow a lot of asthmatics here! I have asthma too and we use 2 different gyms depending on whats going on. I have trouble at one gym more than the other I would talk to the dr and make sure the coach is aware of the possiblility:)
finally better

Ok here is the update, dd had a bronchoscopy. The pulmonologist said she has asthma. Chalk dust is a respiratory irritatant, which can trigger an asthmatic response. She can continue gymnastics, but should try to limit her exposure (i.e. no clapping, or playing or hanging around the chalk). She is much improved, and relieved :)(she doesn't have to stop gymnastics).
Yay! It's great to hear that she's doing better and doesn't have to stop gymnastics. It's funny how when kids get near chalk they feel the need to clap their hands and what not to make chalk go everywhere. It kind of reminds me of gradeschool and banging the chalkboard erasers together.
Very happy that you got encouraging news. At least now you and your dd know what you're dealing with and can take measures to decrease her exposure to the chalk. Maybe you'll end up with one of the least chalk filled gyms in the country!

An upside too, is that some kids just outgrow asthma or some of the "triggers." Lets hope your dd is one of them.
Those are great rules that I'm sure the coaches will appreciate also- the chalk bucket can be a very frustrating area for the coach as well. it is a good idea to talk to the coach as well so they can be aware of what the girls around her are doing as well.
bogwoppit -

OK - so I am fishing through old posts this morning !!!!

But from Bogwoppit -
Good luck, I know how frustrating it is to hear your child coughing constantly, made me feel like a bad Mom, other parents would always comment, as though my kid might make theirs sicks. I felt I should get them a shirt with "it's not a cold, it's asthama!" on the front.

I need one of those shirts too !!!!! OMG, the # of times I have had to say that !!! Though to others defense sometimes when I hear a kid 'hacking up a lung' I will wonder why they around other kids - then I have to remind myself it could just be asthma as w/ DD.
My younger DD is asthmatic too, and has never complained about the chalk dust. She does have trouble when they are running (warmups). She's on Advair (twice/day), Singulair and uses her albuterol inhaler right before practice each day. That helps. Her pulmonologist does limit her activity.
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