Background: The type of air predominantly inhaled during training seems to play an important role in the development of airway hyperresponsiveness in athletes; however, this factor has not been evaluated for asthma.
Objective and patients: To compare the prevalence of self-reported and/or physician-diagnosed asthma among four groups of athletes categorized according to the type of air predominantly inhaled during training: cold air (n=176), dry air (n=384), humid air (n=95), and mixed dry and humid air (n=43).
Method: Self-administrated questionnaires were used.
Results: One hundred seven (15.3%) of the 698 athletes reported having asthma; of these 107 athletes, 92 had physician-diagnosed asthma. No significant differences were found for the prevalence of asthma: 15.9% (cold air), 15.4% (dry air), 12.6% (humid air) and 18.6% (mixed dry and humid air), respectively (P>0.05). Furthermore, no significant differences were observed among the groups for the prevalence of confirmed atopy, cold/flu or respiratory infections (all P>0.05), except for the prevalence of hay fever, which was significantly lower among athletes of the dry air group (P=0.04). Athletes having a first-degree relative with asthma did not have a higher prevalence of asthma than those who did not (P>0.05).
Conclusion: The prevalence of asthma was not significantly different among the four groups of athletes and it was not associated with a family history of asthma.